Skip to main content

Full text of "CMH Pub 7-1 The Supreme Command"

See other formats


UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II 

The European Theater of Operations 
THE SUPREME COMMAND 




CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY 
UNITED STATES ARMY 
WASHINGTON, D. C, 1989 



Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 53-61717 



First Printed 1954 — CMH Pub 7-1 



For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office 
Washington D.C. 20402 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



GENERAL OF THE ARMY D WIGHT D. EISENHOWER, Supreme Commander, 
Allied Expeditionary Force. ( Photograph taken m J 947.) 



UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II 
Kent Roberts Greenfield, General Editor 



Advisory Committee 

(As of 1 May 1953) 



James P. Baxter 
President, Williams College 

John D. Hicks 
University of California 

William T. Hutchinson 
University of Chicago 

S. L. A. Marshall 
Detroit News 



Charles S. Sydnor 
Duke University- 



Brig. Gen. Verdi B. Barnes 
Army War College 

Brig. Gen. Leonard J. Greeley 
Industrial College of the Armed Forces 

Brig. Gen. Elwyn D. Post 
Army Field Forces 

Col. Thomas D. Stamps 
United States Military Academy 

Col. C. E. Beauchamp 
Command and General Staff College 



Charles H. Taylor 
Harvard University 



Office of the Chief of Military History 
Maj. Gen. Albert C. Smith, Chief * 

Chief Historian Kent Roberts Greenfield 
Chief, War Histories Division Col. G. G. O'Connor 
Chief, Editorial and Publication Division Col. B. A. Day- 
Chief, Editorial Branch - Joseph R. Friedman 
Chief, Cartographic Branch Wsevolod Aglaimoff 
Chief, Photographic Branch Maj. Arthur T. Lawry 



* Maj. Gen. Orlando Ward was succeeded by General Smith on 1 February 1953. 



. . . to Those Who Served 



Foreword 



This is a history of coalition warfare. It is focused upon the agency in which 
the decisions of governments were translated into orders, and upon the decisions 
of General Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force. 
The narrative describes the plans and recounts the events, controversial or 
otherwise, leading up to the creation of the Supreme Command and the choice 
of a Supreme Commander for the cross-Channel attack. It follows the history of 
this great command to the surrender of Germany. It is the history not only of 
the decisions that led to victory, but of the discussions, debates, conferences and 
compromises that preceded decisions. Controversy was inevitable in an under- 
taking that required the subordination of national interests to the common 
good. The author does not gloss over the conflicts that arose between allied na- 
tions or individuals. The picture that emerges from these pages is one of discus- 
sion and argument, but nevertheless one of teamwork. Differences of opinion 
and the discussion incident thereto are often the price of sound decisions. 

The nature of the subject, the purpose of the author, and generous contribu- 
tions of information by the British make this an Anglo-American, rather than 
a strictly American, history. Subsequent publications based on a full explora- 
tion of British sources may be expected to round out the picture and give it 
deeper perspective as the history of a joint undertaking. 



Washington, D. C. 
27 January 1953 



ORLANDO WARD 
Maj. Gen., U.S.A. 
Chief of Military History 



IX 



Note on the History of the 
European Theater of Operations 



This volume tells the story of the Supreme Headquarters of that Allied 
Expeditionary Force which seized a foothold on the German-held shores of 
western Europe in 1944 and which, by the following year, had completed the 
liberation of all western Europe. 

The history of the battles fought by the American armies of the Grand Al- 
liance as they drove from the Normandy beaches into the heart of Germany is 
given detailed exposition in other volumes of this series, some of which already 
have been presented to the public. The present volume deals with the command 
exercised by the Supreme Allied Commander, the decisions made by the 
Supreme Commander and his staff, and the operations conducted under the 
aegis of the Supreme Headquarters. 

The reader constantly will be reminded that the war in western Europe was 
fought by Allies and that the commands and decisions which determined the 
ultimate conduct of this war came from an Allied headquarters. Every effort 
has been made to draw on the records of all the Western Allies and the memo- 
ries of their leaders, as well as the records and memories of the German High 
Command. But this volume is an integral part of a series dedicated to the 
United States Army in World War II and inevitably is written from an Ameri- 
can point of view. 

Research for the volume was completed in 1951 and an initial draft circu- 
lated to more than fifty key participants in the events therein described. The 
author completed a final and revised manuscript in January 1952. No effort has 
been made to include information or record opinions which have been pub- 
lished in the United States or abroad since that date. 

The author, Forrest C. Pogue, has studied diplomatic history and interna- 
tional relations at Clark University and theUniversity of Paris, receiving the 
Ph.D. degree from the former institution in 1939. Before his entry into military 
service, in 1942, he taught European history at Murray (Ky.) State College. 
Dr. Pogue made the five campaigns of the First United States Army as a com- 
bat historian, collecting information on battles from Omaha Beach to Pilzen. 



Washington, D. C. 
15 May 1952 



Chief, European Section 



HUGH M. COLE 



x 



Preface 



The purpose of this volume is to tell how the Supreme Allied Command 
prosecuted the war against the enemy in northwest Europe in 1944-45. A part 
of that story has to do with the way in which an integrated command, devoted 
to the Allied cause, waged one of the most effective coalition wars in history. 

I have deliberately focused this account on the Supreme Commander and 
his staff, including for the most part only those decisions of the Prime Minister, 
the President, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff which affected the activities of 
the Supreme Commander. On the enemy side, I have included enough detail 
on Hitler and his commanders to provide a contrast between the Allied and 
enemy command organizations. 

Although General Eisenhower commanded air, sea, and ground forces in 
the operations in northwest Europe, it has been necessary for reasons of limita- 
tions of space and time to restrict the narrative basically to his command of the 
ground forces. Only enough material has been retained on air and naval mat- 
ters to show how they affected the SHAEF command organization and to deal 
with those cases where SHAEF's intervention was required. This approach has 
seemed doubly important in a volume comprising part of the UNITED 
STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II series. 

The Allied point of view has been considered throughout, but it has not 
always been possible to present British and French views as fully as the Ameri- 
can because of the lack of the same ready accessibility to British and French 
files. 

Operations have been considered from the standpoint of their influence on 
the Supreme Commander's decisions and the effects of his directives on the field 
commanders. A corrective to this emphasis on command at the expense of tacti- 
cal action may be found in the operational volumes of this series and in similar 
accounts now in preparation by the British and Canadian historical sections. 

This volume differs from others in the European series because of the 
greater attention necessarily given to political or nonoperational questions. To 
tell the full story of SHAEF, I have had to interrupt the operational narrative 
on occasion in order to interject discussions of such matters as press relations, 
civil affairs, military government, psychological warfare, and relations with the 
liberated countries of Europe. As the war progressed these matters tended to 
occupy an ever-increasing proportion of the Supreme Commander's time. 

The accounts of Allied operations in this volume rest heavily on after action 
reports and semiofficial histories of the army groups and armies. These in turn 



XI 



were based on daily situation and operational reports made during the battle. 
Since the latter reports were prepared under the stress of battle and may not 
always be wholly accurate, the narrative may repeat some of their inaccuracies 
as to dates, units involved, and precise achievements. Whenever it has been 
clear that the reports were in error, corrections have been made. The primary 
sources, however, represent operations much as the Supreme Commander saw 
them at the time when he issued his directives and are therefore more valuable 
for throwing light on his decisions than later amended accounts. 

A word of caution is necessary for the reader who may be unduly impressed 
by the accounts of controversy and difference of opinion which arose between 
commanders of the same nationality, officers of different nationalities, and 
heads of governments. The debates that stemmed from divergent viewpoints 
were in all probability heightened by disparate national interests or by clashes 
of temperament and personality. When the discussions of the participants in 
Allied conferences are seen in cold print, without the benefit of the smile which 
softened a strong argument or the wry shrug which made clear that the debate 
was for the record, and when there is no transcript of the friendly conversation 
which followed the official conference, the reader may get the impression that 
constant argument and heated controversy marked most meetings between 
Allied leaders. Likewise, interoffice memorandums, written by men at plan- 
ning levels, frequently give the erroneous impression that the officers concerned 
were engaged mainly in baiting traps and digging pitfalls for their opposite 
numbers. It is inevitable that a study of such discussions will emphasize the dis- 
agreements and spell out the problems in reaching accords. The numerous basic 
decisions which were reached with only minor debate attract less attention. No 
true history of the war can be written by describing merely the disputes and 
controversies of the Allies; even less can it be written on the assumption that 
even the best of Allies can achieve agreement without prolonged discussion and 
debate. It is important to remember that different nations, although Allies, have 
divergent interests, and that they are not being unfriendly if they pursue those 
interests. 

An alliance is based on an agreement by two or more powers that they will 
oppose their combined forces and resources to a common enemy. They do not 
agree thereby to have an absolute community. of interest. The success of such 
an alliance is to be judged, therefore, not by the amount of heat which may be 
engendered between the powers in their attempts to find a course of action 
which will most nearly preserve their individual aims while gaining a common 
goal, but rather by the degree to which the powers, while frankly working on a 
basis of self-interest, manage to achieve the one aim for which their forces were 
brought together. On that basis the Western Powers forged a unity seldom, if 
ever, achieved in the history of grand alliances. Their commanders, while striv- 
ing to preserve national identity and gain individual honors for their forces, still 
waged a victorious war. 

The Supreme Command has benefited greatly from the advice and help of a 
number of individuals in the United States and abroad. Only a few can be 

xii 



singled out for special mention. To the others, I have space only to express my 
deep appreciation. 

For recommending me to Lt. Gen. Walter B. Smith as the person to write 
a history of SHAEF and for many helpful suggestions, I wish to thank Col. 
S. L. A. Marshall under whom I served as a combat historian in Europe. In ad- 
dition to the present Chief Historian, Dr. Kent Roberts Greenfield, and other 
officials of the Office of the Chief of Military History whose important contribu- 
tions to the volume go without saying, I should like to list the names of Maj. 
Gen. Harry J. Malony, Maj. Gen. Orlando Ward, Col. A. F. Clark, and Col. 
John Kemper, who are no longer with the Office, as persons who helped make 
this volume possible. 

The footnotes indicate only partially the generous way in which fellow his- 
torians employed by the Army, Air Force, and Navy in this country, Great 
Britain, and Canada have made available information in their files. I wish to 
thank in particular Brigadier H. B. Latham, Chief, British Historical Section, 
Cabinet Office, Lt. Col. A. E. Warhurst, formerly of that section, and other 
members of Brigadier Latham's staff for their assistance in gathering material 
on British forces. I am similarly indebted to Col. C. P. Stacey, Chief, Cana- 
dian Historical Section, for aid extended to me when I was writing those por- 
tions of the volume relating to the Canadian Army. These historians, it should 
be noted, do not by these actions concur in the conclusions reached by me nor 
are they responsible for my interpretations. 

Nearly one hundred British, U.S., and French officers and civilians aided 
me greatly by granting interviews in which they talked candidly of the work of 
the Supreme Commander and his headquarters. Their names have been listed 
in the bibliographical note. I have a special debt to Gen. Dwight D. Eisen- 
hower, Lt. Gen. Walter B. Smith, Marshal of the Air Force Lord Tedder, Lt. 
Gen. Sir Frederick Morgan, and Maj. Gen. Ray W. Barker for giving gener- 
ously of their time and supplying me with their private papers on the period 
concerned. Some fifty former participants in the activities of the Supreme Com- 
mand were kind enough to read part or all of my manuscript. Of these I must 
make special mention of Brigadier E. T. Williams, now Warden of Rhodes 
Scholars at Oxford, who generously took many hours from his vacation in 1951 
to check the British side of this story. It is, of course, to be understood that 
neither he nor the other officers who checked the manuscript necessarily agreed 
with my conclusions. 

For assistance in exploring a number of documents in the Department of 
the Army files and the German sources I wish to express my especial apprecia- 
tion to Mr. Royce Thompson of the European Section, and to Mr. Detmar 
Finke and Mrs. Magna E. Bauer of the Foreign Studies Section. I was always 
able to count on their willing assistance even when they were carrying on simi- 
lar duties for other writers in our series. I have made specific mention elsewhere 
of their precise contributions to the volume. Among the employees of the De- 
partmental Records Branch, AGO, who dealt so willingly with my requests for 
the files in their keeping, I wish to thank in particular Mr. Albert Whitt, Mrs. 
Blanche Moore, and Mrs. Ellen Smith Garrison. I have also drawn heavily on 



Xlll 



the patience and the labor of Mr. Israel Wice and members of his Reference 
Branch staff in the OCMH. 

I have been fortunate throughout the writing of this volume in having the 
advice of Editor Joseph R. Friedman who has saved me from numerous errors 
and has made many suggestions for improving the narrative. Miss Constance 
Gay Morenus edited the footnotes and copy-edited the entire manuscript. Mrs. 
Helen McShane Bailey had the difficult job of preparing the index. Typing of 
the manuscript in its initial form was done by Mr. John Lee and after revision 
by Miss Beatrice Bierman. The excellent maps of the volume bear the imprint 
of Mr. Wsevolod Aglaimoff, whose skill as a cartographer has distinguished all 
the volumes of this series. 

The Supreme Command was written under the general direction of Dr. Hugh 
M. Cole, Chief of the European Section, Office of the Chief of Military History. 
His broad knowledge of military history and wise counsel have been of great 
aid to me throughout the writing of this volume. 

Recognition of their contributions by no means implies that the individuals 
who lent their assistance have approved either my English or my interpretations. 
For these, as well as for the general outline and the major research on this vol- 
ume, I must bear the responsibility. 

Washington, D. C. FORREST C. POGUE 

15January 1952 



xiv 



Contents 

Page 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 1 

Chapter 

I. THE SUPREME COMMANDER 23 

The Selection of the Supreme Commander 23 

The New Commander 33 

II. THE COALITION COMMAND 36 

Heads of Governments 36 

Combined Chiefs of Staff 37 

The Supreme Commander and His Subordinates 41 

The Organization of the Subordinate Commands 45 

The Supreme Commander' s Directive 49 

III. THE NATURE OF SHAEF 56 

Contributions of AFHQ 56 • 

Contributions of COSSAC 58 

The Chief Deputies 60 

IV. THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 66 

The Powers Reserved to SHAEF 66 

The Operations Division 68 

The Intelligence Division 71 

Administration 73 

Civil Affairs 75 

Publicity and Psychological Warfare 84 

The Special Staff Divisions 91 

Political Officers 95 

Committees 96 

Locations of SHAEF 96 

V. PLANNING BEFORE SHAEF 98 

Early Background 98 

Allied Planning and Preparation in 1943 102 

The COSSAC Plans . . 105 

VI. SHAEF REVISES PLANS FOR THE ATTACK 107 

Strengthening and Widening the Assault and the Postponement of 

ANVIL 108 

Increase of Airborne Units in the Assault 118 

The Revised Plan 121 

VII. SHAEF'S AIR PROBLEMS, JANUARY-JUNE 1944 123 

Problems of Command 123 

Railway Bombing Plan 127 

CROSSBOW 134 

Effect of the Air Program 1 36 



XV 



Chapter Page 

VIII. RELATIONS WITH THE OCCUPIED COUNTRIES .... 138 

Allied Liaison Machinery 138 

Civil Affairs Agreements 139 

Troubled Relations With the French Committee 140 

IX. FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR THE INVASION 158 

Intensified Air Efforts Against the Enemy 158 

Propaganda Efforts Against the Enemy 161 

Security for the Operation 162 

The Patton Episode 164 

Exercises and Maneuvers 166 

The Decision To Go 1 66 

X. D DAY TO THE BREAKOUT 171 

Unfolding of the Grand Design 171 

XAi? Enemy 175 

Allied Command 1 80 

The Battle for Caen .183 

XI. THE BREAKOUT AND PURSUIT TO THE SEINE .... 192 

The Allied Situation in Late July 1 92 

The German Situation 193 

Plans for the Breakout 1 96 

The COBRA Operation 199 

Hitler Outlines His Plan 201 

Eisenhower Prepares for Action 203 

The Mortain Counterattack 206 

Closing the Falaise Gap 208 

Withdrawal to the Seine 215 

XII. THE CAMPAIGN IN SOUTHERN FRANCE 218 

The Second Phase of the ANVIL Controversy 218 

The Landings and the Advance 227 

XIII. RELATIONS WITH THE FRENCH, JUNE-SEPTEMBER 

1944. . . . ' 231 

Civil Affairs 231 

Command of the French Resistance Forces 236 

Activities of French Resistance, June-August 1944 237 

The Liberation of Paris 239 

XIV. THE PURSUIT STOPS SHORT OF THE RHINE 244 

The Situation at the End of August 244 

Allied Plans for an Advance to the Rhine 249 

Logistical Reasons for the Halt 256 

XV. COMMAND REORGANIZATION, JUNE-OCTOBER 1944. . 261 

The Ground Forces 261 

The Air and Naval Forces 269 

Shifts in Locations of Supreme Headquarters 275 



XVI 



Chapter Page 

XVI. FIGHTING IN THE NORTH 279 

Background of Operations in the Netherlands 279 

The MARKET-GARDEN Operation 284 

Discussion of Future Operations 288 

The Battle for Antwerp 298 

XVII. THE BATTLES OF ATTRITION, SEPTEMBER-DECEMBER 

1944 302 

The Enemy Regroups 302 

October Battles 304 

Plans To End the War Quickly 307 

The November Offensive 310 

Allied Strategy Re-examined 312 

Action in December 317 

XVIII. RELATIONS WITH LIBERATED COUNTRIES 319 

Relations With France 319 

Relations With Belgium 328 

Relations With the Netherlands 334 

Allied Public Information Activities in the Liberated Countries .... 336 

Other Aid to Liberated Peoples 337 

XIX. PROGRAM FOR GERMANY 339 

Efforts To Induce German Surrender 339 

Military Government of Germany 346 

XX. THE WINTER COUNTEROFFENSIVES 359 

The German Plan 359 

Allied Estimate of Enemy Intentions 361 

The Attack 372 

Preparations for an Allied Attack 385 

The Allies Take the Initiative 393 

The Attack in Northern Alsace 397 

The Question of Strasbourg 398 

6th Army Group Counterattack 402 

Effects of the German Counter offensive 404 

XXI. THE BATTLE FOR THE RHINELAND 405 

Russian Plans 405 

Formulation of Allied Strategy 407 

General Eisenhower's Replies 409 

Discussion of Strategy by the Combined Chiefs 413 

Looking Toward the Rhine 417 

German Difficulties 418 

SHAEF Establishes a Forward Headquarters 41 9 

Allied Operations, January-February 1945 420 

The Crossing of the Rhine in the North 427 

xvii 



Chapter Page 

XXII. THE BATTLE FOR THE RUHR 434 

A Change of Plans 434 

Encircling the Ruhr 436 

The Ruhr Pocket 439 

XXIII. THE DRIVE TO THE ELBE 441 

Shall It Be Berlin? 441 

The Area and the Enemy 447 

The Nature of the Pursuit 448 

Operations in the North 449 

The Main Thrust to the Elbe 451 

6th Army Group Operations 454 

XXIV. THE DRIVE TO THE ELBE (CONTINUED) 457 

Aid for the Netherlands 457 

The Stuttgart Incident 459 

Avoiding Clashes With the Russians 461 

The End of Hitler '469 

XXV. THE GERMAN SURRENDER 475 

Early Peace Feelers 475 

Doemtz Appraises the Situation 478 

Piecemeal Surrenders 480 

Preliminary Talks With SHAEF 483 

Surrender at Reims 485 

Ceremony at Berlin 490 

XXVI. THE LAST PHASE 495 

Initial Measures 495 

Disarming the German Forces 497 

The Final German Surrenders 502 

Disarming the Enemy in Denmark and Norway 508 

Closing Out Supreme Headquarters 511 

Appendix 

A. SHAEF AND THE PRESS, JUNE 1944-MAY 1945 519 

B. SHAEF PERSONNEL 529 

C. ROSTER OF KEY OFFICERS, SHAEF 536 

D. FORCES UNDER SHAEF, 1944-45 539 

E. STRENGTH AND CASUALTY FIGURES 542 

F. THE SUPREME COMMANDER'S ORDERS OF THE DAY . 545 

G. TABLE OF EQUIVALENT RANKS 550 

GLOSSARY 551 

CODE NAMES 554 

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 557 

INDEX 571 

xviii 



Tables 

No. Page 

1. Casualties Caused by Flying Bomb and Rocket Attacks on the United 

Kingdom, 1944-45 252 

2. Estimated Casualties in the Ardennes> 396 

3. U.S. Battle Casualties, Ardennes— Alsace, 16 December 1944-25 January 

1945 402 

4. Authorized Strength of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary 

Force, 12 July 1944 533 

5. Authorized Strength of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary 

Force, 1 February 1945 534 

6. Authorized Strength of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary 

Force, 1 April 1945 535 

7. Assigned Strength of U.S. Army Forces in European Theater of Opera- 

tions, July 1944-June 1945 542 

8. Battle Casualties of U.S. Army in European Theater of Operations, June 

1944-May 1945 543 

9. British and Canadian Strengths, Northwest Europe, 1944-45 543 

10. Battle Casualties of the British 21 Army Group, D Day to V-E Day . . 544 

11. Battle Casualties of French Army, 8 November 1942-8 May 1945 . . . 544 

Charts 

1. Allied Organization for Combined Operations, 24 May 1944 38 

2. Chain of Command, Allied Expeditionary Force, 13 February 1944 ... 54 

3. Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, 6 June 1944 67 

4. Operational Chain of Command, AEF, 1 April 1944 159 

5. Operational Chain of Command, AEF, 1 September 1944 262 

6. Operational Channels, First Allied Airborne Army, 28 November 1944 270 

7. Operational Chain of Command, AEF, 18 December 1944 379 

8. Operational Chain of Command, AEF, 27 March 1945 ........ 428 

9. Operational Chain of Command, AEF, 1 May 1945 455 

Maps 

1. D Day to Breakout, 6 June-24 July 1944 172 

2. Campaign in Southern France, 15 August-15 September 19^4 226 

3. The Arnhem Operation, 17-26 September 1944 285 

4. Clearing the Schelde Estuary, 2 October-8 November 1944 299 

5. Battle of the Ardennes, 16-26 December 1944 373 

6. Battle of the Ardennes, 26 December 1944-28 January 1945 394 

7. The Battle of Alsace, 1 January-9 February 1945 399 

8. Situation in Europe, 15 January 1945 408 

9. Battle of the Ruhr, 28 March-18 April 1945 437 

xix 



Maps I-VI Are in Inverse Order Inside Back Cover 

Mo. 

I. Order of Battle OB WEST, 6 June 1944 
II. Breakout and Advance to the Seine, 25 JuJy-25 August 1944 

III. Pursuit to the German Border, 26 August-15 September 1944 

IV. Battle of Attrition, 16 September-15 December 1944 

V. Battle of the Rhineland and Crossing of the Rhine, 8 February-28 March 
1945 

VI. Drive to the Elbe, 4 April-7 May 1945 

Illustrations 

Page 

General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower Frontispiece 

General Morgan 24 

General Marshall and Secretary Stimson 26 

Conference at Quebec ' 40 

Air Chief Marshal Leigh-Mallory 46 

Admiral Ramsay 46 

General Brereton 47 

General Spaatz 47 

General Bradley 50 

General Montgomery 50 

General Crerar 51 

General Dempsey 51 

General Devers 57 

General Barker 57 

Air Chief Marshal Tedder 61 

General Smith . 63 

Air Vice Marshal Robb 64 

General Gale 64 

General Bull 69 

General Whiteley 69 

General Nevins 69 

Brigadier McLean 69 

General Strong 70 

General Crawford 73 

General Lee 74 

General Grasett 82 

General Davis 84 

General McClure 85 

General Cameron 94 

General Vulliamy 94 

General Kenner 94 

General Hughes 94 



XX 



Page 



High-Level Conference 110 

Air Attack 133 

General de Gaulle 148 

General Koenig 149 

Aerial Reconnaissance 160 

U. S. Mulberry 174 

Adolf Hitler 176 

Field Marshal Keitel 176 

Field Marshal von Rundstedt 178 

General Blaskowitz 178 

Field Marshal Rommel 195 

Field Marshal von Kluge 195 

General Patton 205 

General Hodges 205 

Field Marshal Kesselring 212 

Field Marshal Model 212 ' 

General Patch 227 

General de Lattre de Tassigny 227 

General Simpson 265 

General Gerow 266 

Air Chief Marshal Harris 272 

General Vandenberg 272 

Trianon Palace Hotel 277 

General Doolittle 317 

General Juin 398 

SHAEF at Reims 420 

Admiral Burrough 430 

Meeting at the Elbe 453 

Surrender at Reims 489 

Surrender at Berlin 493 

Victory Speech 512 I 

I. G. Farbenindustrie Building 513 



Illustrations are from the following sources 

J. C. A. Redhead, FRPS, London: page 46 (Leigh-Mallory). 

Bassano Ltd., London: page 46 (Ramsay). 

British Information Services: page 50 (Montgomery). 

Canadian Army: page 51 (Crerar). 

Fayer Camera Portraits, London: page 148. 

Service Cinema des Armees, France: page 398. 

Walter Stoneman, London: pages 94 (Cameron, Vulliamy, Hughes), 430. 
Captured German Photographs: pages 176, 178, 195, 212. 

All other photographs are from Department of Defense files 



xxi 



\ 



Biographical Sketches 



Brig. Gen. Frank A. Allen, Jr. served as chief of the Pictorial and Radio Branch of 
the Bureau of Public Relations, War Department, from February to August 1941. 
From August 1941 to June 1943 he held various command assignments in the 
United States with the 1st, 5th, and 9th Armored Divisions. In June 1943 he as- 
sumed command of one of the 1st Armored Division's combat commands in 
North Africa. Later, in Italy, he headed Task Force Allen, which was organized 
by II Corps. In July 1944 he was appointed G-2 of the 6th Army Group. He 
came from that post in September 1944 to SHAEF as chief of the Public Rela- 
tions Division. 

General of the Army Henry H. Arnold, one of the first Army fliers, was a pioneer 
in the development of airplanes and air techniques in the Army. After being se- 
lected Chief of the Air Corps in 1938, he pressed for the development of aircraft 
production and for a program for the civilian training of flying cadets. In 1940 
he became Deputy Chief of Staff (Air) and in the following year Chief, Army Air 
Forces. In 1942 his title was changed to Commanding General, Army Air Forces. 

General der Panzertruppen Hermann Balck served as a company grade officer in 
World War I. At the outbreak of war in 1939 Balck was in the General Staff of 
the Army and was transferred to the command of a motorized rifle regiment in 
late October 1939. During the winter and spring of 1940-41 he commanded a 
Panzer regiment and later a Panzer brigade. He returned to staff duties in the 
Army High Command in July 1941. In May 1942, Balck went to the Eastern 
Front and successively commanded Panzer divisions, corps, and an army. He was 
transferred from command of the Fourth Panzer Army in Russia to the command of 
Army Group G in September 1944 and in late December was transferred back to 
the Eastern Front to command Army Group Balck. Balck was captured in Austria 
by Allied troops on 8 May 1945. 

Maj. Gen. Ray W. Barker was an artillery colonel in early 1942 when he was sent 
to the United Kingdom. In May of that year, under orders from General Mar- 
shall, he associated himself with British planners working on plans for a cross- 



*The rank given in each biography is the highest held by the individual concerned during the 
1944-45 period. Unless otherwise noted, the last position given for each name on the list was the one 
held at the end of the war. 



2 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Channel operation for 1943. General Barker became head of the planning group 
at Headquarters, U.S. Forces in Europe, and in addition met regularly with the 
Combined Commanders planning group. He worked from July to September 
1942 on Operation Torch and then returned to the cross-Channel project. He 
served as G-5 (then head of war plans) for ETOUS A from June to October 1942, 
as G-3, ETOUS A, from October 1942 to April 1943, as Deputy Chief of Staff, 
ETOUSA, from February to April 1943, and as G-5, ETOUSA, from April to 
October 1943. In the spring of 1943 he became deputy to General Morgan on 
the COSSAC staff and remained there until the spring of 1944 when he became 
the SHAEFG-1. 

Generaloberst Johannes Blaskowitz served as an infantry officer in World War I. 
In World War II he commanded the Eighth Army during the Polish campaign, and 
after a short term of service as Commander in Chief East in Poland he was trans- 
ferred to command of theNinth Army in the west. In earlyJune 1940he became 
Military Governor of Northern France. Blaskowitz held this position until Octo- 
ber 1940 when he was transferred to the command of the First Army. He retained 
this post until May 1944 when he was named commander in chief of Army Group 
G. He was relieved of command of Army Group Gin late September 1944and rein- 
stated on 24 December 1944. On 28 January 1945 he was appointed commander 
in chief of Army Group H. This command was redesignated in early April 1945 and 
Blaskowitz became Commander in Chief Netherlands. He was captured on 8 May 
1945 at Hilversum, Holland. 

Gen. Omar N. Bradley in 1940 became an assistant secretary of the General Staff 
in the War Department. In February 1941 he was given command of the 
Infantry School at Fort Benning, Ga. From this post he went to the 82d Division 
early in 1942. In June of that year he assumed command of the 28th Division. 
General Marshall sent him to North Africa in February 1943 to act as an 
observer for General Eisenhower. A few weeks later Bradley became deputy 
commander of II Corps under General Patton, and in April, when Patton was 
given the task of planning the Sicilian campaign, he took command of II Corps. 
In the new command, General Bradley fought in Tunisia and Sicily. He was 
selected in September 1943 to head the First U.S. Army in the invasion of north- 
west Europe as well as a U.S. army group headquarters. General Bradley led the 
First Army in the Normandy campaign until 1 August 1944 when he became 
commander of the 12th Army Group. 

Lt. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1907, 
transferred to the Army in 1911, and in turn transferred to the flying section of 
the Signal Corps in 1912. He was a flier in Europe in World War I. InJuly 1941, 
General Brereton was given command of the Third Air Force. When war broke 
out, he was the commanding general of the Far East Air Force in the Philippine 
Islands. At the beginning of 1942 he became Deputy Air Commander in Chief, 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 



3 



Allied Air Forces, on the staff" of General Wavell besides serving as commander 
of the Fifth Air Force. General Brereton organized and commanded the Tenth 
Air Force in India in March 1942. Two months later he became commander of 
the Middle East Air Force. In February 1943 he assumed in addition the com- 
mand of U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East. In October 1943 he was trans- 
ferred to the United Kingdom where he became commanding general of the 
Ninth Air Force. He was appointed commander in chief of the First Allied Air- 
borne Army in August 1944. 

Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke (Now Lord Alanbrooke), a graduate of the 
Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, served in World War I, receiving the Dis- 
tinguished Service Order with bar and other awards for his actions. By 1941 he 
had gained a reputation as the Army's expert on mechanization. He commanded 
the 2d British Corps in France in the early part of World War II and helped to 
make possible the successful evacuation at Dunkerque. Generals Montgomery 
and Alexander served under him at that time. Shortly thereafter he became 
commander of the British Home Forces and organized the defenses of the United 
Kingdom against possible attack by the Germans. He succeeded Field Marshal 
Dill as Chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1941. 

Maj. Gen. Harold R. Bull served as Secretary, General Staff, of the War Depart- 
ment in 1939. He followed this duty with assignment as Professor of Military 
Science and Tactics at Culver Military Academy, and later as assistant division 
commander of the 4th Motorized Division. After the outbreak of war, he became 
G-3 of the War Department, and went from this post to head the Replacement 
School Command, Army Ground Forces. In the summer of 1943 General Mar- 
shall sent him to North Africa as a special observer. On his return, he became the 
commanding general of III Corps, holding this post from June to September 
1943. In the latter month, he was sent to London where he became deputy G-3 
of COSSAC. In February 1944 he was appointed G-3, SHAEF. 

Admiral Harold M. Burrough was assistant chief of the Naval Staff, Admiralty, 
at the beginning of the war. From 1940 to 1942 he commanded a cruiser squad- 
ron. He was commander of Naval Forces, Algiers, in 1942, and Flag Officer 
Commanding Gibraltar and Mediterranean Approaches, 1943-45. In January 
1945 he succeeded Admiral Ramsay as Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief, 
Expeditionary Force. After the dissolution of SHAEF he became British Naval 
Commander-in-Chief, Germany. 

Lt. Gen. M. B. Burrows served in the North Russian Expeditionary Force, 1918-19. 
In the period 1938-40 he was military attache at Rome, Budapest, and Tirana. 
He served as head of the British Military Mission to the USSR in 1943-44, and 
as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the West Africa Command in 
1945-46. 



4 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Generalfeldmarschall Ernst Busch served as an infantry officer in World War I. 
He commanded the VIII Corps in the Polish compaign and in October 1939 was 
appointed commander of the Sixteenth Army. In November 1943 he was made 
acting commander in chief of Army Group Center on the Eastern Front. From May 
1944 until August 1944 Busch was commander in chief of Army Group Center. He 
was then relieved and placed in the officers' reserve pool until March 1945 when 
he was made commander of Fuehrungsstab Nordkueste which was renamed OB 
NORD WEST in early May 1945. 

Maj. Gen. A. M. Cameron, a member of the antiaircraft operations section of the 
War Office at the beginning of the war, went to Antiaircraft Command Head- 
quarters in 1940. Later he commanded a brigade and a group in the Antiaircraft 
Command. He was commanding a group on the south coast of England when 
sent to SHAEF in May 1944. 

Maj. Gen. John G. W. Clark was commander of an infantry brigade at the start 
of the war and led it to France. Later he was a divisional commander in Palestine 
and Iraq. He served in North Africa and Sicily in 1942 and 1943 and at the end 
of 1943 he became Major General in Charge of Administration, Middle East. In 
January 1944 he was transferred to Allied Force Headquarters as chief admin- 
istrative officer. One year later he became head of the SHAEF Mission 
(Netherlands). 

Lt. Gen. J. Lawton Collins was chief of staff of VII Corps in January 1941. After 
the attack at Pearl Harbor he became chief of staff of the Hawaiian Department. 
In May 1942 he became commanding general of the 25th Division. He relieved 
the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal in December 1942 and later fought in 
the New Georgia campaign. In December 1943 he was transferred to the Euro- 
pean Theater of Operations where he assumed command of the VII Corps and 
led it in the assault on northwest Europe. 

Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham served with the New Zealand Forces 
Samoa and Egypt from 1914 to 1916 and then in Europe from 1916 to 1919. In 
World War II he served with Bomber Command, working with the Eighth Army 
in North Africa and forming the First Tactical Air Force, French North Africa. 
He furnished air support to the Eighth Army in Sicily and Italy in 1943 and 
commanded the 2d Tactical Air Force in northwest Europe in 1944-45. 

Maj. Gen Robert W. Crawford was district engineer in New Orleans in 1939 when 
he was called to the War Plans Division in Washington and assigned duties in 
connection with overseas supplies, munitions, allocations, and the like. By July 
1942 he was transferred to the 8th Armored Division as head of a combat com- 
mand. Near the end of 1942, he became Commanding General, Services of Sup- 
ply, U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East. From this post he was sent in July 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 



5 



1943 to the United Kingdom where he served for a time as deputy commander 
and later as chief of staff of the Services of Supply organization, and as G^l, 
Headquarters, ETOUSA. In November 1943 he became deputy G—A of 
COSSAC. On the activation of SHAEF he became G-4 of SHAEF. 

Rear Adm. George E. Creasy commanded a destroyer flotilla from 1939 to May 
1940. From June 1940 to August 1942, he headed the division of antisubmarine 
warfare at the Admiralty, and in \9A2-A3 commanded the Duke of York, taking 
part in the North African landings. In August 1943 hejoined COSSAC as naval 
chief of staff, becoming chief of staff to Admiral Ramsay when the latter was 
named to the post of Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief, Expeditionary Force. 

Gen. Henry D. G. Crerar was senior officer, Canadian Military Headquarters, 
London, in 1939^10. In 1940^1 he served as Chief of General Staff, Canada. 
He became commander of the 2d Canadian Division Overseas in 1941. From 

1942 to 1944 he commanded the 1st Canadian Corps and for apart of the same 
period commanded the Canadian Corps Mediterranean Area (1943-44). He 
led the 1st Canadian Army in 1944-45. 

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew B. Cunningham entered the Royal Navy in 
1898 and participated in World War I. As Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, 
between 1939 and 1942, he directed operations against the Italian Fleet at 
Taranto and Matapan and evacuated the British forces from Greece. He headed 
the British naval delegation in Washington briefly in 1942 before becoming 
Naval Commander-in-Chief, Expeditionary Force, North Africa. In October 

1943 he replaced Admiral Sir Dudley Pound as First Sea Lord. 

Brig. Gen. ThomasJ. Davis was an aide of General MacArthur in the Philippines 
from 1928 to 1930 and returned with him to the U.S. to duty in the Office ofthe 
Chief of Staff in 1930. In September 1933 he returned to the Philippines, serving 
as assistant military adviser under MacArthur until January 1938 when he be- 
came adviser in the Philippines on adjutant general affairs. In January 1940 
Davis came back to the War Department, first in The Adjutant General's Office 
and then as executive officer of the Special Service Branch ofthe War Depart- 
ment. In April 1942 he became executive officer in the office ofthe ChiefofAd- 
ministrative Services, Headquarters, SOS. He was appointed adjutant general 
of Headquarters, ETOUSA, inJuly 1942. From August 1942toJanuary 1944 
he was adjutant general ofAllied Force Headquarters. In February 1944he was 
named adjutant general of SHAEF. In April when the SHAEF Public Relations 
Division was established, he became its head. In October 1944 he returned to 
the post of adjutant general of SHAEF. 

Maj. Gen. john R. Deane was secretary of the War Department General Staff in 
February 1942. He became American secretary of the Combined Chiefs of Staff 



6 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



in September 1942. In October 1943 he was appointed as head of the U.S. mili- 
tary mission to the USSR. 

Maj. Gen. Francis De Guingand, a graduate of the Royal Military College, Sand- 
hurst, was Military Assistant to the Secretary of State for War in 1939-40 and 
later became Director Military Intelligence Middle East. In 1942-44 he served 
as chief of staff of the British Eighth Army, and in 1944 he took over the same 
post in the 21 Army Group. 

Gen. Sir Miles Dempsey commanded the 13th Infantry Brigade in France in 1940, 
receiving the D.S.O. He returned to England to become Brigadier General Staff 
with the Canadians under Gen. A. G. L. MacNaughton. Shortly after El 
Alamein, he took command of the 13th Corps of the Eighth Army and led it in 
the Sicilian campaign and in the invasion of Italy. In January 1944 he became 
commander of the Second British Army, which he led through the remainder of 
the war in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. 

Gen. Jacob L. Devers became chief of the Armored Forces, Fort Knox, Ky., in the 
summer of 1941. From this post he went in May 1943 to the command of the 
European Theater of Operations. While there he helped COSSAC in its plan- 
ning for the Overlord operation. In December 1943 he succeeded General 
Eisenhower as commanding general of the North African Theater of Operations. 
Later he was Deputy Commander in Chief, Allied Force Headquarters, and 
Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater. In September 
1944 he became commander of the 6th Army Group, which consisted of Seventh 
U.S. and First French Armies. 

Maj. Gen. Richard H. Dewing was a brigadier instructing at the Imperial Defence 
College in 1939. Shortly thereafter he was appointed Director of Military Oper- 
ations at the War Office with the rank of major general. In 1940 he became Chief 
of Staff, Far East, and in 1942 joined the British Army staff in Washington. He 
spent the next two years as head of the United Kingdom Liaison Staff in 
Australia and in 1945 was appointed head of SHAEF Mission (Denmark). 

Field Marshal Sir John Dill, a veteran of the Boer War, served near the end of 
World War I as Field Marshal Haig's Brigadier General Staff Operations. Later 
he was on the general staff in India, Director of Military Operations and Intel- 
ligence in the War Office, and commander in chief at Aldershot. He served as 
Chief of the Imperial General Staff from May 1940 to the end of 1941. In Decem- 
ber 1941 he was sent to Washington as head of the British Joint Staff Mission and 
senior British member of the Combined Chiefs of Staff organization in Washing- 
ton. He was serving in this capacity at the time of his death in November 1944. 
He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 



7 



Grossadmiral Karl Doenitz served in naval air and submarine forces in World 
War I. He was placed in sole charge of Germany's U-Boats in 1935 when he was 
appointed Fuehrer der Unterseeboote. In early 1941 Doenitz' position was raised and 
he was named Befehlshaber der Unterseeboote. He held this position until the spring 
of 1943 when he was given supreme command of the German Navy and named 
Grossadmiral. In late April 1 945 Hitler designated Doenitz as his successor in place 
of Goering. After Hitler's death Doenitz carried on the German government until 
his arrest by the Allied Command in May 1945. 

Lt. Gen. James H. Doolittle served in World War I as a flier. He resigned from the 
Army in 1930 but continued his work in aeronautics as a civilian. He was 
recalled to duty in 1940, and in April 1942 led the first aerial raid on thejap- 
anese mainland. He was assigned to duty with the Eighth Air Force in the 
United Kingdom in July 1942 and in September of that year assumed command 
of the Twelfth Air Force in North Africa. In March 1943 he became command- 
ing general of the North African Strategic Air Forces. He was named commander 
of the Fifteenth Air Force in November 1943. Fromjanuary 1944 until the end 
of the war he headed the Eighth Air Force in the European Theater of 
Operations. 

Brig. Gen. Beverly C. Dunn was district engineer at Seattle, Wash., in July 1940. 
In March 1942 he was assigned to the North Atlantic Engineer Division, New 
York. He became deputy chief engineer at Headquarters, SHAEF, in February 
1944. Shortly before the dissolution of SHAEF he succeeded General Hughes as 
chief engineer. 

General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower was graduated from West Point in 
1915 and commissioned in that year. His first assignment was with the 19th In- 
fantry Regiment. He remained with this unit, except for short periods of 
detached service, until 1917. In September of that year he was assigned to duty 
in the 57th Infantry Regiment. During World War I he served as instructor at 
the Officer Training Camp at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., from September to Decem- 
ber 1917, taught in the Army Service Schools at Fort Leavenworth, Kans., from 
December 1917 to February 1918, had a tour of duty with the 65th Battalion 
Engineers, which he organized at Fort Meade, Md., and commanded Camp 
Colt, Pa. After the war he commanded tank corps troops at Fort Dix, N. J., and 
at Fort Benning, Ga. In 1919 he returned to Fort Meade where he served in 
various tank battalions until January 1922. Meanwhile he graduated from the 
Infantry Tank School. In 1922 he went to the Panama Canal Zone where he 
served as executive officer at Camp Gaillard. From September to December 1924 
he was recreation officer at the headquarters of Third Corps Area. This assign- 
ment was followed by a tour as recruiting officer at Fort Logan, Colo., until 
August 1925. He then attended Command and General Staff School at Fort 
Leavenworth, graduating as an honor student in June 1926. A brief tour with the 



8 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



24th Division followed. From January to August 1927 he was on duty with the 
American Battle Monuments Commission in Washington. He graduated from 
the Army War College in June 1928 and then went back for a year with the 
Battle Monuments Commission with duty in Washington and France. From 
November 1929 to February 1933 he was Assistant Executive, Office of the 
Assistant Secretary of War. During this period he graduated from the Army 
Industrial College. From 1933 to September 1935 he was in the Office of the 
Chief of Staff (Gen. Douglas MacArthur). He served as assistant to the military 
adviser of the Philippine Islands from September 1935 to 1940. In 1940 he was 
assigned to duty with the 15th Infantry Regiment. In November of that year he 
became chief of staff of the 3d Division, in March 1941 chief of staff of the IX 
Corps, and in June 1941 chief of staff of the Third Army. He joined the War 
Plans Division of the War Department in December 1941 and became chief of 
the division in the following February. On 25 June 1942 he was named com- 
manding general of the European Theater of Operations. In November 1942 he 
commanded the Allied landings in North Africa and in the same month became 
Commander in Chief, Allied Forces in North Africa. As commander of Allied 
Forces in the Mediterranean he directed operations in Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy 
until December 1943 when he was named Supreme Commander, Allied Expedi- 
tionary Force. In this post he directed the invasion of northwest Europe and the 
campaigns against Germany. 

Maj. Gen. George W. E.James Erskine was a lieutenant colonel on the staff of a 
division in England at the outbreak of war. In June 1940 he was given command 
of a battalion and in January 1941 a brigade. He went with the latter to the 
Middle East injune 1941. In February 1942 he became Brigadier General Staff, 
Headquarters, 13 Corps, and in January 1943 was given command of the 7th 
Armoured Division. He commanded this unit in the Western Desert, Italy, and 
Normandy. In August 1944 he became head of the SHAEF mission to Belgium. 

Generaladmiral Hans von Friedeburg, was commanding admiral of submarines 
in June 1944. He was appointed commander in chief of the German Navy by 
Doenitz in early May 1945 and as such signed the final capitulations in Reims 
and Berlin. He committed suicide soon thereafter. 

Lt. Gen. Sir Humfrey M. Gale was deputy director of supplies and transport in the 
War Office at the beginning of the war. Two months later he became G-4 of 3 
British Corps and went to France. In 1940, after Dunkerque, he became Major 
General in Charge of Administration (includes both G-l and G-4 functions in 
the British Army) in the Scottish Command. He left this assignment in July 1941 
to take a similar position at Home Forces under Sir Alan Brooke. In August 1942 
he was appointed chief administrative officer on General Eisenhower's staff in the 
Mediterranean, where he remained until February 1944. At that time he was 
appointed one of the deputy chiefs of staff of SHAEF with the title Chief Admin- 
istrative Officer. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 



9 



Lt. Gen. Leonard T. Gerovv was executive officer of the War Plans Division of the 
War Department from 1936 to 1939. He served as chief of staff of the 2d Division 
through 1939. In 1940 he was appointed assistant commandant of the Infantry 
School. In October 1940 he was transferred to the 8th Division and in December 
of that year he was assigned to the War Plans Division, War Department. He was 
chief of that division at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. In February 1942 he 
was given command of the 29th Division and later was put in charge of field 
forces in the European theater. In July 1943 he became commander of V Corps 
and led that unit in the assault in northwest Europe. He became commanding 
general of the Fifteenth Army in January 1945. 

Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering was one of Germany's outstanding flyers in 
World War I. He became a member of the Nazi party in 1922 and held many- 
party positions. In 1933 he was made Reich Minister for Air and in 1935 named 
Commander in Chief of the Air Force. As President of the Council of Ministers 
for the Defense of the Reich and as Trustee for the Four Year Plan, Goering exer- 
cised great influence on the political and economic life of the Reich. Long desig- 
nated as Hitler's successor, he was removed from this position in late April 1945. 
Goering was captured by American forces in May 1945. 

Lt. Gen. Sir A. E. Grasett, a Canadian-born officer, was stationed in China in 
1938-41. He returned to the United Kingdom in 1941 to command a division, 
and from 1941 to 1943 a corps. He next served as chief of the Liaison Branch of 
the War Office, and after the organization of Supreme Headquarters he became 
chief of the European Allied Contact Section. In April 1944 he was appointed 
chief of the G-5 Division. 

Generaloberst Heinz Guderian, a veteran of World War I, was a strong proponent 
of armored warfare. At the outbreak of World War II, he was given command of 
XIX Panzer Corps and in this position fought in the Polish and French campaigns. 
He commanded the Second Panzer Group, later designated Second Panzer Army, in the 
Russian campaign from June to December 1941. Guderian was then placed in an 
officers' reserve pool until February 1943, at which time he was assigned as Inspec- 
tor General of Panzer Troops. In July 1944, while still on this assignment, he was des- 
ignated as acting chief of the Army General Staff. He held these positions until he 
was relieved in March 1945. Guderian was captured near Zell am See, Tirol, 10 
May 1945. 

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur T. Harris, who was commanding 
the RAF in Palestine and Transjordan in the summer of 1939, became chief of the 
No. 5 Group of Bomber Command at the outbreak of war. In 1 940 he became 
deputy chief of the Air Staff under Air Chief Marshal Portal. In May 1941 he 
came to the United States as head of the RAF delegation and as member of the 
British Joint Staff Mission. He remained in Washington until February 1942 
when he was named Commander-in-Chief, Bomber Command. 



10 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Generaloberst der Waffen SS Paul Hausser was a member of the General Staff 
Corps and served as a divisional and corps staff officer in World War I. He was re- 
tired from the Army with the rank of Generalleutnant in 1932. Hausser became a 
member of the Waffen SS in 1934 and by 1939 had again reached his former rank 
of Generalleutnant. During the Polish campaign Hausser served on the staff of Pan- 
zer Division Kempf. From October 1939 until October 1941 he commanded the 2d 
SS Panzer Division "Das Reich." During this period he was wounded and had to be 
hospitalized until June 1942, at which time he became commander of the II SS 
Panzer Corps. He led this corps until the end of June 1944, fighting in the east, in 
Italy, and finally in Normandy. At the end of June 1944 Hausser was assigned to 
command the Seventh Army, holding this position until late August 1944, when he 
was again severely wounded and hospitalized until January 1945. From the end 
of January until the beginning of April 1945 Hausser commanded Army Group G. 
Thereafter, until he was taken prisoner on 13 May 1945, Hausser served on the 
staff of OB WEST. 

Reichsfuehrer SS und Chef der Deutschen Polizei Heinrich Himmler served as 
a 2d lieutenant in a Bavarian infantry regiment in World War I. A Nazi party 
member since 1925, Himmler by 1936 had brought all of the German police and 
the SS under his control. After the putsch of 20 July 1944 Himmler was also ap- 
pointed Chief of the Replacement Army {Chef der Heeresruestung und Befehlshaber des 
Ersatzheeres). In late November 1944 all of the defenses on the eastern bank of the 
upper Rhine were placed under him as Oberbefehlshaber Oberrhein. Himmler 
retained this command until late January 1945 when he became commander in 
chief of Army Group Weichsel on the Eastern Front. On 20 March 1945 Himmler 
relinquished command of Army Group Weichsel. He was captured by Allied troops 
in early May 1945 and committed suicide shortly thereafter. 

Gen. Courtney H. Hodges, an overseas veteran of World War I, became comman- 
dant of the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Ga., in October 1940. He was named 
Chief of Infantry, War Department, in May 1941, and commanding general of 
the Replacement and School Command, Army Ground Forces, in March 1942. 
Later he became commanding general of X Corps. From this post he went to the 
command of the Third Army in February 1943. In March 1944 he was sent to 
the European Theater of Operations as deputy commander of the First Army. He 
succeeded General Bradley in command of that army on 1 August 1944 and led 
it through France, Belgium, Germany, and to the Czechoslovakian frontier at the 
war's end. 

Maj. Gen. H. B. W. Hughes was chief engineer of the Western Command in 1939 
and engineer-in-chief of General Wavell's Middle East Command from 1940 to 
1943. In December 1943 he became chief engineer of COSSAC and in February 
of the following year chief of the Engineer Division of SHAEF. The latter post he 
held until the spring of 1945. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 



11 



Generaloberst Alfred Jodl served as an artillery officer in World War I. In Sep- 
tember 1939 Jodl was assigned to the OKW/ Wehrmachtfuehrungsstab, becoming 
chief of this office in the following month. He held this position until the close of 
the war. He became a prisoner of war in May of 1945. 

General Alphonse Pierre Juin was born in Algiers and spent much of his early 
career in North Africa. He served for a time as an aide of Marshal Lyautey and 
was regarded as a strong disciple of that commander. From 1938 to 1939 Juin was 
chief of staff to General Nogues, commander of the North African Theater of Op- 
erations. Near the close of 1939, he headed an infantry division in northern 
France and helped to cover the withdrawal to Dunkerque the following year. On 
the fall of France he became a German prisoner, but was released in 1941. In the 
summer of that year, he was given a command in Morocco and later inl941 was 
named commander in chief of French forces in North Africa. In 1943 he was 
placed at the head of the French Expeditionary Corps, which performed bril- 
liantly in Italy. In 1944 General de Gaulle appointed him to the post of Chief of 
Staff of the Ministry of National Defense. 

Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel served in various staff positions at corps 
and army headquarters in World War I. He was appointed chief of OKW in 
1938, a position he held for the duration of the war. Keitel was taken into custody 
in mid-May 1945. 

Maj. Gen. Albert W. Kenner was chief surgeon of the Armored Service at Fort 
Knox, Ky., at the beginning of the war. He was taken by General Patton to 
North Africa as chief surgeon of the Western Task Force in November 1942. One 
month later he became Chief Surgeon, North African Forces, under General 
Eisenhower. In 1943 he returned to Washington as Assistant Surgeon General 
with the task of training and inspecting Ground Forces medical troops. He came 
to SHAEF in February 1944 as chief medical officer. 

Generalfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring, served on various divisional and corps 
staffs in World War I. After staff and troop assignments he was assigned as ad- 
ministrative chief to the Reich Air Ministry. Kesselring remained in this position 
until June 1936 when he was assigned as chief of the Air Force General Staff. In 
the Polish campaign he commanded First Air Force and later in 1940 Second Air 
Force in France. In December 1941 Kesselring was appointed as Commander in 
Chief South with command of all German Air Force units in the Mediterranean 
and North African theaters. In the fall of 1943 he was redesignated as Com- 
mander in Chief Southwest with nominal command of the German armed forces 
in Italy. Kesselring was transferred to Germany as Commander in Chief West in 
March 1945 and later designated as Commander in Chief South. He was taken 
prisoner at Saalfelden on 6 May 1945. 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Fleet Admiral Ernest J. Kino graduated from the Naval Academy in 1901. He 
served during World War I as assistant chief of staff to the Commander in Chief, 
U.S. Fleet. Beginning in 1937 he served in succession as member of the General 
Board of the Navy, commander of the U.S. Fleet Patrol Force, and commander 
in chief of the Atlantic Fleet. In December 1941 he became Commander in Chief, 
U.S. Fleet, and in 1942 also took the title of Chief of Naval Operations. 

Vice Adm. Alan G. Kirk in 1941 was naval attache in London, where his duties in- 
cluded reporting on German naval organization. From March to October 1941 
he served as Chief of Naval Intelligence in Washington. This assignment was fol- 
lowed by brief tours on convoy duty in the North Atlantic and in transporting 
troops to Iceland. In May 1942 he became chief of staff to Admiral Stark in Lon- 
don. Admiral Kirk was appointed Commander, Amphibious Force, Atlantic 
Fleet, in March 1943 and helped prepare the forces for the Sicilian operation. 
Later he was in charge of transporting some 20,000 soldiers to the Mediter- 
ranean. He served as commander of U.S. Naval Forces for the cross-Channel 
attack and held operational control of all U.S. naval forces under General Eisen- 
hower except those in the south of France. Later he was head of the U.S. Naval 
Mission at SHAEF and was for a short time acting Allied Naval Commander 
after Admiral Ramsay was killed in January 1945. 

Generalfeldmarschall Guenther von Kluge served as an infantry and mountain 
troop officer in World War I. During the Polish and French campaigns, and the 
early part of the Russian campaign, of World War II von Kluge commanded the 
Fourth Army. In December 1941 he was assigned as commander in chief of Army 
Group Center on the Eastern Front, a position he held until May 1944. Von Kluge 
relieved von Rundstedt as Commander in Chief West in early July 1944, and was 
relieved in turn by Model at the beginning of September 1944. On his way to 
Germany he committed suicide. 

Gen. Pierre Joseph Koenio was serving as a captain in the French Foreign Legion 
at the outbreak of war. As a major he led elements of the legion at Narvik in May 
and June 1940. After these forces were withdrawn, he went back to France. On 
the fall of France he fled to the United Kingdom where he joined the Gaullist 
forces. Shortly thereafter he went to Africa. As the commander of a brigade, he 
fought at Bir Hacheim in Libya. On 1 August 1943 he became assistant chief of 
staff of the French ground forces in North Africa. The French Committee of Na- 
tional Liberation named him its delegate to SHAEF in March 1944 and also 
gave him the title of commander of French Forces of the Interior in Great Britain. 
When Allied forces entered France, he assumed command of the French Forces 
of the Interior in France. On the liberation of Paris in August 1944 he was named 
military governor of Paris and commander of the Military Region of Paris. In 
July 1945 he became commander in chief of French forces in Germany. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 



13 



General der Infanterie Hans Krebs served as an infantry- officer in World War I. 
In 1939 he was in the Intelligence Division of the General Staff of the Army. Krebs 
was assigned as chief of staff of the VII Corps in December 1939 and served in this 
capacity until March 1941. He was then appointed as acting German military 
attache in Moscow, remaining in this post until the outbreak of war between Ger- 
many and the Soviet Union. From January 1942 until September 1944 he served 
as chief of staff first of the Ninth Army and later of Army Group Center on the Eastern 
Front. Krebs was appointed chief of staff of Army Group B at the beginning of Sep- 
tember 1944 and remained in this position until 1 April 1945 when he was named 
acting chief of the General Staff. Krebs was killed or committed suicide in Berlin 

in May 1945. 

Maj. Gen. Francis H. Lanahan. Jr., was chief of the War Plans Division, Signal 
Corps, from December 1941 to June 1942. From June to December 1942 he- 
served as assistant director of planning in charge of the Theater Section. He was 
director of planning of the same branch from January to June 1943. From August 
1943 to February 1945 he served as deputy chief of the Signal Division at 
COSSAC and SHAEF. In March 1945 he succeeded General Vulliamy as chief 
of the Signal Division, SHAEF. 

Gen. Jean de Lattre de Tassigny commanded the 14th Infantry Division in 1940. 
He withdrew his forces into the French zone in that year. He was commanding 
a military region in the south of France in November 1942 when he was arrested 
for a demonstration he made at the time of the Allied landings in North Africa. 
He was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment by the Vichy authorities but es- 
caped from the Riom prison in September 1943 and went to the United King- 
dom. At the end of the year he went to North Africa. On 18 April 1944 he was 
appointed commanding general of Armee B, which was later named the First 
French Army. 

Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy graduated from the Naval Academy in 1897 
and served in the war against Spain. During World War I he served on ships of 
the line and on a transport. In 1933 he became chief of the Bureau of Navigation. 
Four years later he became Chief of Naval Operations. In 1939, after he had re- 
tired, President Roosevelt appointed him governor of Puerto Rico and in the fol- 
lowing year made him Ambassador to France. He was recalled to active duty in 
1942 and made chief of staff to the Commander in Chief, a post he held under 
Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. 

Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory won the Distinguished Flying 
Order in the Royal Flying Corps in World War I. He commanded the 1 1 and 12 
Fighter Groups in the Battle of Britain in World War II. From November 1942 to 
December 1943 he served as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Fighter Com- 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



mand. At the close of 1943 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief, Allied Expe- 
ditionary Air Force, and as such commanded the tactical air forces in support of 
the Allied Expeditionary Force. He was transferred to the post of Commander-in- 
Chief, South-East Asia Command, in the early fall of 1944, but was killed in a 
plane crash en route to that headquarters in November 1944. 

Maj. Gen. John T. Lewis served in 1941 in the Office of the Secretary, General Staff, 
War Department. In February of the following year he was assigned to a coast 
artillery brigade in New York. He was named Commanding General, Military 
District of Washington, in May 1942. While in this post he was a member of the 
commission which tried the Nazi saboteurs. In September 1944 he was selected 
as chief of SHAEF Mission (France). 

Brig. Gen. Robert A. McClure, U.S. Millitary Attache in London in 1941 and 
military attache to the eight governments-in-exile in the United Kingdom, be- 
came G-2 of ETOUSA under General Eisenhower early in 1942. From Novem- 
ber 1942 to November 1943 he headed the Public Relations, Psychological War- 
fare and Censorship Section at AFHQ. In November 1943 he was sent to 
COSSAC to organize a similar section. In February 1944 he became G-6 of 
SHAEF. When that division was divided later in the year, he was appointed chief 
of the Psychological Warfare Division of SHAEF. 

Brigadier Kenneth G. McLean at the outbreak of war became a member of the 
staff of the 52d Division in Scotland. From April 1940 tojune 1941 he was an 
Army representative on the British GHQ Planning Staff. When COSSAC was 
established in 1943, he became the Army member of the planning staff. On the 
activation of SHAEF he was named head of the Planning Section of G-3. 

General of the Army George C. Marshall was graduated from Virginia Military 
Institute in 1901 and commissioned early in the following year. He served on 
the staffs of the First and Second Armies in World War I. In July 1938 he became 
Assistant Chief of Staff, War Plans Division, General Staff, and in October was 
appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army. In September 1939 he became 
Chief of Staff of the Army. 

Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model served as an infantry officer in World War 
I. During the Polish and French campaigns in 1939 and 1940 he served as a corps 
and army chief of staff. In the Russian campaign from 1941 until 1944 he served 
in succession as a division, corps, and army commander. Model in January 1944 
was assigned as commander in chief of Army Group North on the Eastern Front. In 
mid- August 1944 he was transferred to the west as Commander in Chief West 
and concurrently as commander in chief of Army Group B. Upon Rundstedt's re- 
turn as Commander in Chief West in early September 1944, Model retained 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 



15 



command of Army Group B, a post he kept until the final dissolution of Army Group 
B in April 1945. Model is said to have committed suicide at this time. 

Field Marshal Sir Bernard Law Montgomery commanded the 3d British Divi- 
sion in France in the winter and spring of 1939-40. He was given temporary com- 
mand of the 2 Corps at Dunkerque. In the fall of 1940 he was given the 5 Corps 
and, in 1941, the 12 Corps. In 1942 he became head of the Southeast Command. 
In the summer of that year he was told that he would head the First British Army 
in the North African invasion, but the death of General Gott, who was slated for 
the command of the British Eighth Army led to Montgomery's selection for the 
post. As commander of this army he won the battle of El Alamein, pursued Mar- 
shal Rommel's forces to Tunisia, and helped defeat the enemy in Tunisia. Later 
he led the Eighth Army to Sicily and Italy. His appointment as Commander-in- 
Chief, 21 Army Group, was announced in December 1943. He commanded the 
Allied assault forces in Normandy, serving in that capacity until 1 September 
1944 when General Eisenhower assumed control of field operations. Field Mar- 
shal Montgomery led the combined British and Canadian forces in France, Bel- 
gium, the Netherlands, and Germany for the remainder of the war. During much 
of this time the Ninth U.S. Army was also under his command. In the course of 
the Ardennes counteroffensive he was also given command of the First U.S. 
Army. 

Lt. Gen. Sir Frederick E. Morgan served in France in 1940 as commander of a 
group of the 1st Armoured Division. In May 1942 he was appointed to command 
the 1st Corps District, which included Lincolnshire and the East Riding of York- 
shire. In October of that year he was made commander of the 1 Corps and placed 
under General Eisenhower. He was given the task of preparing a subsidiary land- 
ing in the western Mediterranean either to reinforce the initial landings or to deal 
with a German thrust through Spain. When neither operation proved necessary, 
he was directed to plan the invasion of Sardinia. In time this was abandoned and 
he was directed to plan the invasion of Sicily. This project was later given to the 
armies in North Africa. In the spring of 1943 he became chief of staff to the 
Supreme Allied Commander and as such directed planning for the invasion of 
northwest Europe. He served in 1944 and 1945 as Deputy Chief of Staff, SHAEF. 

Ambassador Robert D. Murphy, a career diplomat, was counselor of the U.S. Em- 
bassy in Paris when war began in Europe. After the fall of France, he served 
briefly as charge d'affaires at Vichy. In November 1940 he was detailed to Al- 
giers. In the fall of 1942 he helped in negotiations between Allied military leaders 
and the French forces in North Africa. After the invasion of that area he was 
named political adviser to General Eisenhower. Later he became Chief Civil Af- 
fairs Adviser for Italian Affairs on General Eisenhower's staff and also served as 
U.S. member of the Advisory Council to the Allied Control Commission for Italy. 
At this time he was given the rank of Ambassador. In August 1944 Mr. Murphy 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



was named political adviser at SHAEF and Chief of the Political Division for the 
U.S. Group Control Council set up to plan postwar occupation of Germany. 
Later he served as political adviser to Generals Eisenhower, McNarney, and 
Clay. 

Brig. Gen. Arthur S. Nevins served in the Strategy Section of the War Plans Divi- 
sion of the War Department from May 1941 until after the outbreak of war with 
Japan. In the spring of 1942 he went to the United Kingdom as a member of the 
planning staff for the North African invasion. When II U.S. Corps was activated 
he became its deputy chief of staff. Later he became G-3 of the Fifth U.S. Army. 
After a month in that position he worked as an Army planner on the Sicilian in- 
vasion, and was then appointed operations officer on General Alexander's com- 
bined headquarters staff. In October 1943 he went to the United Kingdom to 
head the Plans and Operations Section of COSSAC, a post he was holding when 
he was appointed chief of the Operations Section, G-3 Division, SHAEF. 

Gen. Sir Bernard Paget was commandant of the Staff College, Camberley, at the 
outbreak of war. He then took command of the 13th Division in East Anglia and 
in the spring of 1940 commanded British forces in the Andalsnes area during the 
expedition to Norway. After Dunkerque he was named Chief of Staff, Home 
Forces, and then served for a time as chief of the Southeast Command. When 
General Brooke became Chief of the Imperial General Staff in 1942, General 
Paget succeeded him as commander of Home Forces. As head of this command, 
Paget was a member of the Combined Commanders. When the 21 Army Group 
was established in the summer of 1943, he was named to command it. On 24 
December 1943 he was assigned to the Middle East Command. 

Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch was in command of the Infantry Replacement 
Center at Camp Croft, N. C, at the outbreak of war. In the spring of 1942 he 
commanded a U.S. infantry division in New Caledonia, and on 8 December 
1942 he assumed command of Army, Navy, and Marine forces operating against 
the enemy on Guadalcanal. He became commander of the XIV Corps in Jan- 
uary 1943. In April of that year he returned to the United States where he took 
command of the IV Corps. He was designated commanding general of Seventh 
Army in March 1944, and in August of that year brought it into southern 
France. He commanded it in Alsace during that fall and winter and led it into 
Germany the following spring. In July 1945 he became commanding general of 
the Fourth Army at Fort Sam Houston, Tex., where he died in November 1945. 

Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., commanded the ground elements of the Western Task 
Force in the landings in North Africa in November 1942. In March 1943 he 
assumed command of the II Corps in Tunisia. In April of that year he began the 
work of planning the invasion of Sicily. He commanded the U.S. forces in the 
assault on that island. His headquarters was renamed Seventh U.S. Army after 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 



the landings in Sicily. He was brought to the United Kingdom as commander of 
the Third U.S. Army in the spring of 1944. It became active on the Continent on 
1 August 1944 and under his direction campaigned in France, Luxembourg, 
Belgium, Germany, and Czechoslovakia. After the war's end he became com- 
manding general of the Fifteenth Army. He died as a result of an automobile 
accident in December 1945. 

Mr. Charles B. P. Peake entered the British diplomatic service in 1922. In 1939 he 
was made head of the News Department of the Foreign Office and Chief Press 
Adviser to the Ministry of Information. In 1941 he was temporarily attached to 
Viscount Halifax as personal assistant in Washington and promoted to be a 
counsellor of embassy. From 1942 to 1943 he was the British representative to the 
French National Committee and in October 1943 he was appointed to General 
Eisenhower's staff as political liaison officer to the Supreme Commander with the 
rank of minister. 

Ambassador William Phillips began his career in the foreign service of the United 
States as private secretary of the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain in 1903. 
Among his important appointments after that time were Ambassador to the 
Netherlands in 1920, Undersecretary of the Department of State, 1922-24 and 
1933-36, Ambassador to Italy, 1936-41, and personal representative of the Presi- 
dent to India, 1942-43. He was appointed political adviser to the COSSAC staff 
in September 1943 and held the same position at SHAEF from its activation until 
September 1944. 

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Charles Portal served as an observer and 
fighter pilot in World War I. In the 1930's he commanded the British Forces in 
Aden and was Director of Organization, Air Ministry. Early in World War II he 
served on the Air Council and was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Bomber 
Command. He was appointed Chief of the Air Staff in October 1940. 

Grossadmiral Erich Raeder served in fleet and staff service during World War I. 
He was commander in chief of the German Navy from 1935 until 1943, when at 
his own request he was replaced by Doenitz and appointed Inspector General of 
the German Navy ( Admiralinspekteur der Kriegsmarine), a nominal title. 

Admiral Bertram H. Ramsay retired in 1938 after forty-two years in the Royal 
Navy, serving the last three as Chief of Staff, Home Fleet. He was recalled to 
duty in 1939 as Flag Officer Commanding, Dover, and in that post organized 
the naval forces for the evacuation of Dunkerque. Later he helped plan the 
Torch operation, commanded a task force in the Sicilian invasion, and became 
British naval commander in the Mediterranean. He was appointed Allied Naval 
Commander-in-Chief, Expeditionary Force, in the fall of 1943 and served in that 
post until his death in a plane crash in France on 1 January 1945. 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Mr. Samuel Reber entered the U.S. Foreign Service in 1926. He was stationed in 
Washington at the beginning of the war, but went to Martinique on a special 
mission in early 1942. After the landings in North Africa he was transferred to 
Mr. Murphy's staff in Algiers. From there he went to Italy in October 1943 as a 
member first of the Allied military mission and later of the Allied Control Com- 
mission. While in Italy he was attached for special duty to the Fifth Army. He 
left Italy in July 1944 and joined SHAEF as a political adviser. 

Maj. Gen. Harold Redman was instructing at the British Staff College in 1939. He 
was then appointed to the War Cabinet Secretariat. In 1940 he was given com- 
mand of a battalion in the United Kingdom. From June to December 1941 he 
commanded an infantry brigade in the Middle East. At the end of the year he 
was selected to be Brigadier General Staff, Headquarters Eighth Army. In March 

1942 he returned again to a brigade command, which he held until 1943 when 
he was appointed secretary to the Combined Chiefs of Staff in Washington. In 
August 1 944 he was promoted to major general and became deputy commander 
of the French Forces of the Interior. In the following month he was appointed 
deputy head of the SHAEF mission to France. 

Air Marshal James M. Robb went to Canada at the beginning of the war to help 
plan the Commonwealth Air Training Plan. In 1940 he became commander of 
the No. 2 Bomber Group in the United Kingdom. Later, he was made chief of the 
No. 15 Fighter Group, commanding the Western Approaches to the United King- 
dom. In 1942, he served as deputy chief of Combined Operations Headquarters 
and then acted for a brief period as air commander at Gibralter during the inva- 
sion of North Africa. He next served as air adviser to General Eisenhower. On the 
formation of the Northwest African Air Forces in 1943, he became commander of 
RAF North Africa and deputy to General Spaatz in the Northwest African Air 
Forces. He became Deputy Chief of Staff (Air), SHAEF, in March 1944. On the 
dissolution of AEAF in October 1944, he became Chief of the Air Staff (SHAEF). 

Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel served as an infantry officer in World War 
I. In August 1939 he was assigned as commandant of the Fuehrerhauptquartier, a 
position he held until February 1940. Rommel participated in the French cam- 
paign as commander of the Seventh Panzer Division. In February 1941 he was as- 
signed to command the German troops assisting the Italians in North Africa. 
Rommel remained in Africa from September 1941 until March 1943 and com- 
manded first Panzer Army Africa and later Army Group Africa. In the late summer of 

1943 Rommel was assigned as commander of Army Group B in northern Italy. In 
the fall and winter of 1943 he conducted surveys of coastal defenses in the west. 
In January 1944 he again became commander of Army Group B in the west and 
retained this position until he was severely wounded in July 1944. Rommel, 
suspected of complicity in the plot of 20 July 1944, was forced to commit suicide 
in October 1944. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 



19 



Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt served as chief of staff of various 
division and corps headquarters in World War I. He was retired in October 1938, 
In June 1939 he was recalled to command Army Group South in the Polish cam- 
paign. After a very short term as Commander in Chief East in occupied Poland 
he was redesignated as commander in chief of Army Group A and transferred to 
the Western Front. In May 1940 his forces broke through the Ardennes and ad- 
vanced to the Channel coast. In October 1940 he was designated as Commander 
in Chief West, a position he held until the transfer of his headquarters to the east 
in the spring of 1941. During the Russian campaign von Rundstedt commanded 
Army Group South (formerly Army Group A) from June until December 1941, when 
at his own request he was relieved of command because of ill health. In March 
1942 he was assigned as Commander in Chief West. He retained this position 
until he was relieved early in July 1944. Von Rundstedt was reassigned to his 
former position as Commander in Chief West on 4 September 1944 and remained 
as such until his final relief on 10 March 1945. He was taken prisoner in "Bad 
Toelz on 1 May 1945. 

Maj. Gen. Lowell W. Rooks was chief of the training division of Headquarters, 
Army Ground Forces, in March 1942, In June of that year he became chief of 
staff of II Corps. He was named G- :3 of Headquarters, North African Theater of 
Operations, when that headquarters was organized, and in January 1944 he was 
named deputy chief of staff of Allied Force Headquarters. In March 1945 he 
became Deputy G-3, SHAEF. In this position he helped to liquidate OKW at 
the end of the war. 

Generalfeldmarschall Ferdinand Schoerner served as an infantry officer in 
World War I. From September 1939 until October 1943, he served with moun- 
tain troops, rising from regimental to corps commander. After a short time as an 
armored corps commander on the Eastern Front and then as a staff officer at 
OKH, he was assigned as acting commander in chief of Army Group A on the 
Eastern Front. Schoerner was appointed commander in chief of Army Group A in 
- May 1944 and transferred to Army Group North as commander in chief in July 
1944. In January 1945 he became commander of Army Group Center. 

Lt. Gen. William H. Simpson, veteran of overseas service in World War I, held the 
command of the 9th Infantry Regiment, 2d Division, in June 1940. He was given 
command of the Infantry Replacement Training Center of the Army in April 
1941. Six months later he became commanding general of the 35th Division, and 
he served from April to September 1942 as commander of the 30th Division. For 
one month he commanded the XII Corps. In September 1943 he was placed at 
the head of the Fourth Army. In the spring of 1944 an additional army head- 
quarters (the Eighth) was formed from the Fourth Army, and General Simpson 
was made commander of the new headquarters. He took it to the United King- 
dom in May 1944 and remained as its head when it was renumbered the Ninth 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Army. He commanded the Ninth Army in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, 
and Germany. 

Lt. Gen. Walter Bedell Smith was assistant secretary of the General Staff in Octo- 
ber 1939. He became Secretary, General Staff, in September 1941. In February 

1942 he was named U.S. secretary of the Combined Chiefs of Staff and secretary 
of the Joint Board. General Eisenhower chose him in September 1942 to be chief 
of staff of the European Theater of Operations. Later he became chief of staff of 
the Allied forces in North Africa and of the Mediterranean theater. At the end of 
1943, he became chief of staff of SHAEF. 

Gen. Carl Spaatz served with the First Aero Squadron of the Mexican Punitive 
Expedition in 1916. During World War I he won the Distinguished Service Cross 
in combat over St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne. In 1940 he was sent to the 
United Kingdom as an official observer of the Battle of Britain, On his return to 
the United States he became commander of the Air Corps Materiel Division. 
At the beginning of 1942 he became chief of the Army Air Forces Combat Com- 
mand. In May of that year he was given the command of the Eighth Air Force, 
which he took to the United Kingdom in the following July. Shortly thereafter 
he also became Commanding General, U.S. Army Air Forces in Europe. At the 
close of the year he was appointed commander of the Twelfth Air Force in North 
Africa. Two months later he was named commander of the Northwest African 
Air Forces. When the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces headquarters was estab- 
lished in 1943 under Air Chief Marshal Tedder, General Spaatz became its 
deputy commander. In January 1944 he went back to the United Kingdom 
where he assumed command of the United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe. 

Maj. Gen. Kenneth W. D. Strong served as assistant military attache in Berlin 
shortly before the outbreak of war in 1939, and in the first one and a half years 
of the war as head of the German Section, War Office. Later he commanded a 
battalion and then became chief of intelligence of Home Forces. In February 

1943 he was appointed G-2 of Allied Force Headquarters in the Mediterranean. 
In this capacity he helped General Smith in armistice negotiations with the 
Italians. In the spring of 1944 he became G-2 of SHAEF. 

Generaloberst Kurt Student was one of Germany's first fighter pilots — in 1913 — 
and served in the Luftwaffe during World War I. After the outbreak of World 
War II, he took an active part in the paratroop attack on Rotterdam and in May 
1941 commanded the paratroop attack on Crete. When the Allies invaded 
Europe, Student held the position of Commander of Paratroops in OKL in Berlin, and 
from 3 September until 31 October 1944 he was commander of the First Parachute 
Army under Army Group B in the Albert Canal-Maastricht sector. For the next 
three months he commanded Army Group Student, later renamed Army Group H, in 
Holland. During the month of April 1945 he again commanded the First Para- 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 



chute Army in the Weser-Ems area. For the remaining week of the war, General 
Student commanded Army Group Weichsel on the Eastern Front. He was captured 
on 28 May 1945 near Flensburg. 

Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur W. Tedder served as British air commander in the 
Middle East in 1942, helping to stop Rommel's advance toward Egypt. His 
forces also contributed to the success of the El Alamein attack and the subsequent 
drive toward Tunisia. From February 1943 until the end of the year, he served as 
Commander in Chief, Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, which included RAF 
Middle East, RAF Malta Air Command, and the Northwest African Air Forces. 
In January 1944 he was appointed Deputy Supreme Commander, SHAEF. 

Lt. Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg served from June 1939 to June 1942 as assistant chief 
of the Plans Division in the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps. From June to 
August 1942 he was chief of the organization and equipment section in the A-3 
Division of the same office. He went overseas in August 1942 as chief of staff of 
the Twelfth Air Force and served in that capacity until August of the following 
year. From August 1943 to March 1944 he was deputy chief of the Air Staff in 
Washington. He filled the post of Deputy Air Commander, Allied Expeditionary 
Air Force, from March to August 1944, and was then appointed to the command 
of the Ninth Air Force. 

Maj. Gen. C. H. H. Vulliamy served in 1939-40 as chief signal officer of the Anti- 
aircraft Defence of Great Britain. In 1940 he became chief signal officer of a corps 
in Northern Ireland. He held a similar post in an army in 1941-42 before going 
to the Middle East Command as chief signal officer in 1943. In November of that 
year he became head of the Signals Division of COSSAC, and in February 1944 
became chief of the Signal Division, SHAEF. He held this post until the spring of 
1945. 

Maj. Gen. J. F. M. Whiteley, veteran of World War I, in which he was awarded the 
Military Cross, served as Deputy Assistant Adjutant General India from 1932 to 
1934. In the following year he became General Staff Officer, War Office, con- 
tinuing as such until 1938. In World War II he served as deputy chief of staff at 
Allied Force Headquarters, was assigned briefly as chief of intelligence at 
SHAEF, and became Deputy G-3, SHAEF, in May 1944. 

Generaloberst Kurt Zeitzler served as an infantry officer in World War I. In 
World War II he served as a corps chief of staff in the Polish and French cam- 
paigns and as chief of staff of First Panzer Group, later First Panzer Army, in Russia 
in 1941. After a short tour as chief of staff of OB WESThe was appointed Chief 
of the Army General Staff in September 1942. He was relieved of this position in 
July 1944 and retired from the Army in January 1945. 



CHAPTER I 



The Supreme Commander 



Christmas Eve, 1943, found the world 
in its fourth year of war. The Allies, still 
faced with the grim spectacle of western 
Europe under Axis domination, gained 
some cheer from the knowledge that their 
position had improved substantially in the 
year just ending. Not only had they won 
victories in the Mediterranean, on the 
Eastern Front, and in the Pacific, but the 
Western Powers and the Soviet Union had 
at last agreed upon the strategy for break- 
ing the power of Hitler. As radio audiences 
listened that Christmas Eve to the carols 
already beginning to fill the air, they heard 
the President of the United States an- 
nounce the selection of General Dwight 
David Eisenhower as Supreme Com- 
mander of the Allied Expeditionary Force 
that was to march against Germany. The 
appointment meant that an important 
milestone in World War II had been 
passed. The last great phase of the war in 
the West was about to begin and peace 
seemed somehow nearer than it had 
before. 

The Selection of the Supreme Commander 

Almost a year had elapsed between the 
Casablanca Conference, which decided 
that a Supreme Commander would be 
named, and the announcement of 24 
December. 1 The appointment had been 
postponed initially on the ground that 
more than a year would pass before the in- 



vasion of northwest Europe (Operation 
Overlord) could be launched. The con- 
ferees thought it sufficient at that stage to 
select a Chief of Staff to the Supreme 
Allied Commander (COSSAC) 2 and give 
him power to choose a staff and to cbnduct 
preliminary planning for the cross-Chan- 
nel operation. Lt. Gen. Frederick E. 
Morgan was named to head the COSSAC 
staff. It was assumed that members of his 
staff would serve as a nucleus for the future 
Supreme Headquarters. 

The final decision on a Supreme Com- 
mander was delayed further for several 
different reasons — some quite clear cut 
and others indeterminate. The first, dis- 
cussed at the Casablanca Conference, had 
to do with the nationality of the Supreme 
Commander. The U.S. President, Frank- 
lin D. Roosevelt, realizing that any attack 
made in the near future would have to be 
mounted largely by the British, said that 
the appointment if made then should go to 
a British officer. Prime Minister Winston 
S. Churchill proposed that the decision be 
postponed, suggesting that the question be 
settled ultimately in accordance with the 



1 The Casablanca Conference, a meeting of the 
British and U.S. heads of government and the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff, was held in Casablanca in Jan- 
uary 1943. This is sometimes referred to as the Anfa 
or Symbol Conference. See below, pp. 37-41, for dis- 
cussion of Combined Chiefs of Staff. 

2 The title COSSAC was used to indicate both the 
headquarters and its head. This volume will use 
COSSAC to refer to the headquarters; General Mor- 
gan will be referred to as the COSSAC chief. 



24 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 




general rule that the command be held 
"by an officer of the nation which furnishes 
the majority of the troops." Through the 
spring of 1943 when plans were being dis- 
cussed for small-scale operations on the 
Continent to be mounted in case of Ger- 
man weakening or at signs of Russian col- 
lapse, it seemed clear that British forces 
would dominate and that a British officer 
would command. In this period, the Prime 
Minister informed Field Marshal Sir Alan 
Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General 
Staff, that he would command the invasion 
of Europe.- 1 Partly in anticipation of this 
appointment, General Morgan organized 
the early staff of COSSAC in accordance 
with the British staff system. 4 

By the end of April 1943, General 
Morgan had concluded that the command 
of a cross -Channel attack would have to go 
to an American, since the United States 
would have to furnish everything "to 
follow up the initial effort. . , ." This 
sentiment was echoed in the United States, 
where the responsible military leaders 
believed that the launching of the cross- 
Channel operation, toward which the 
British Chiefs of Staff were believed to be 
lukewarm, would be insured if it had a 
U.S. commander. 5 The Secretary of War, 
Henry L. Stimson, pressed this view on the 
President on the eve of the Allied confer- 
ence at Quebec in August 1943, adding 
that the selection of Gen. George C. Mar- 
shall, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, would 
be the best guarantee that the operation 
would be carried out. Mr. Harry L. Hop- 
kins, unofficial adviser to the President, 
also strongly urged the selection of Gen- 
eral Marshall. Mr. Roosevelt, impressed 
by their reasoning, reached an agreement 
with Prime Minister Churchill at Quebec 
that an American should lead the cross- 
Channel attack, and apparently indicated 



GENERAL MORGAN 

that General Marshall would be named. 
Roosevelt told Secretary Stimson shortly 
after the Quebec Conference that the first 
proposal had come from Churchill 
although it meant taking the command 
from General Brooke. It is clear that the 
President wanted Marshall to have the 



' Winston S. Churchill, Closing the Ring (Boston, 
1951), p. 85. 

1 CCS 169, 22 Jan +3, Notes on conf of 18 Jan +3, 
Casablanca Conf Min; Maj Gen Harry C. Ingles, 
Deputy Theater Comdr, to Maj Gen Charles H. 
Bonesteel, 10 May 43, photostat in AG HRB 200.3 
ETOUSA Collection of Msgs; Imexv with Gen Sir 
Hastings L. Ismay, 17 Dec 46, on selection of Brooke; 
Interv with Gen Morgan, 2 Apr 46. General Ingles 
wrote General Bonesteel on 10 May 1943 that the de- 
cision to appoint the British commander had been 
made in Washington, but the author has found no 
record of this action. 

I The British Chiefs of Staff were officially called 
the Chiefs of Staff Committee just as the U.S. Chiefs 
were called the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 



THE SUPREME COMMANDER 



25 



Supreme Command in Europe, and that 
the British interposed no objection. They 
expected the U.S. Chief of Staff to be ap- 
pointed, and it appears that some agree- 
ment had been made whereby he would 
act with the British Chiefs of Staff in Lon- 
don on matters affecting operations in the 
European theater. 6 

Even after agreeing tentatively on the 
person to be named to the Supreme Com- 
mand, the President delayed making the 
final selection. While he was convinced 
that General Marshall should be chosen 
in order that he might have proper credit 
for his work in building the American 
Army, Mr. Roosevelt still wished to retain 
the Chief of Staff 's services in Washington 
as long as possible. 7 

Publication of statements that General 
Marshall was to lead the cross-Channel at- 
tack received a varied reaction in the 
United States. Many newspapers took the 
appointment as a matter of course and de- 
clared that the Chief of Staff was the logi- 
cal nominee for the job. Critics of the 
administration in the press and Congress 
took a different stand. Apparently not 
knowing that Secretary of War Stimson 
was urging the appointment and saying 
that it was something which General Mar- 
shall wanted more than anything else, the 
opponents of the President attributed the 
selection to everything from a British plot 
to get rid of a U.S. Chief of Staff who op- 
posed their schemes to a suggestion, 
branded by Mr. Stimson as "outrageous 
libel," that the proposal was prompted by 
an administration scheme to replace Gen- 
eral Marshall with a political general who 
would manipulate the awarding of war 
contracts in a manner to re-elect Mr. 
Roosevelt in 1944. The Army and Navy 
Journal and the Army and Navy Register, 
which reflected the views of many officers 



in the services, objected to the shift on 
military grounds. So much anxiety was 
evidenced by members of Congress that 
Secretary Stimson and General Marshall 
at length found it necessary to deny the 
charges that the President was interfering 
with the War Department. 8 

Part of the concern over the proposed 
appointment arose from reports that Gen- 
eral Marshall's colleagues on the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff were opposed to the change. 
Their reaction was due not to the fear that 
politics was involved but to the feeling that 
it was necessary to retain General Mar- 
shall as a member of the Combined, Chiefs 
of Staff where he could fight for U.S. con- 



6 Frederick E. Morgan, Overture to Overlord (New 
York, 1950), p. 124. General Morgan's views on the 
need of an American commander are cited in Ltr, 
Gen Ingles, Deputy Theater Cmdr, to Gen Marshall, 
6 May 43, Hq ETOUSA files. For Mr. Stimson's 
views, see Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, 
On Active Service in Peace and War (New York, 1948), 
p. 439, including quotation from his diary of August 
1943. For other views, see General Ismay's interview 
with the author, 17 December 1946; Robert E. Sher- 
wood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History (New 
York, 1948), p. 762; and Churchill, Closing the Ring, 
pp. 85, 301. Statements by various British and U.S. 
officials are noted in the Diary of the Office of the 
Commander in Chief, entries for 5, 8, and 19 October 
1943, and a memorandum by General Eisenhower for 
6 December 1943. The Diary of the Office of the 
Commander in Chief, hereafter cited as Diary Office 
CinC, was kept by Capt. Harry C. Butcher, USNR, 
for General Eisenhower. It includes summaries of the 
Supreme Commander's activities, memoranda written 
for the diary, many of the top secret letters which 
came to or were sent by the Supreme Commander, 
and copies of plans, intelligence estimates and the like. 
Edited portions of this diary appeared in Butcher's 
My Three Tears With Eisenhower (New York, 1946). 

7 Churchill, Closing the Ring, pp. 303-04. 

8 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 759-64, has 
a convenient summary of these reactions. See also 
Congressional Record, Vol. 89, Pt. 6, 7682, 7883, Pt. 11 , 
App. 400 1 ; Army and Navy Journal, September 18, 
1943; Army and Navy Register, September 1 1, 18, 25, 
October 2, 1943; The New York Times, September 23- 
30, 1943; Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, pp. 
437-43; Churchill, Closing the Ring, pp. 301-03. 




GENERAL MARSHALL AND SECRETARY STIMSON 



THE SUPREME COMMANDER 



27 



cepts of Allied strategy. Their view was 
shared by General of the Armies John J. 
Pershing who, as the elder statesman of 
the Army, warned the President in mid- 
September that the proposed transfer of 
the Chief of Staff would be a "funda- 
mental and very grave error in our mili- 
tary policy." The President agreed on the 
need of keeping General Marshall in 
Washington, but held that the Chief of 
Staff deserved a chance to lead in the field 
the Army which he had developed. 9 

Although members of the War Depart- 
ment had good reason to know that there 
was no disposition on the part of the Presi- 
dent to "kick General Marshall upstairs," 
they nonetheless feared that the shift of the 
Chief of Staff to a field command would 
result in an actual demotion and remove 
from the Combined Chiefs of Staff the 
stanchest proponent of the cross-Channel 
attack. They therefore backed proposals 
outlined by the Operations Division of the 
War Department giving General Marshall 
control of the operational forces in the 
cross-Channel attack but still retaining 
him in his position on the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff. Under one such plan, the 
Chief of Staff would command all United 
Nations forces and at the same time keep 
his vote on European matters in the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff organization. It was 
proposed that the position of Deputy 
Supreme Commander and the command 
in the Mediterranean be given to British 
officers, while operational command of the 
cross- Channel attack should go to an 
American." 

To a degree the American planners were 
trying to have their cake and eat it too. 
They wanted operational command of the 
Overlord forces, but at the same time 
they wanted to be sure that the Overlord 
viewpoint was fully represented in the 



Combined Chiefs of Staff. They were par- 
ticularly anxious to place firm control of 
operations in the hands of an American 
general. This attitude was strengthened as 
it became increasingly clear that the 
United States would furnish more than 
half of the forces and supplies to be com- 
mitted in the cross-Channel operation. 
The British, who in a sense had General 
Pershing's World War I problem of pre- 
serving their national identity in an Allied 
force, were equally determined to keep a 
large share of control over the Supreme 
Command and were not disposed to 
strengthen Washington's grip on opera- 
tions and policy. They thus balked at any 
proposal that would place a U.S. com- 
mander, not only over the Allied forces in 
Europe, but over all United Nations forces 
fighting Germany and at the same time 



9 William D. Leahy, / Was There (New York, 1950), 
pp. 191-92; Interv with Admiral Leahy, 15 Jul 47; 
Interv with Admiral Ernest J. King, 7 Jul 47; Henry 
H. Arnold, Global Mission (New York, 1949), pp. 455- 
56. Texts of Pershing and Roosevelt letters, 16 and 
20 September 1943, in Katherine Tupper Marshall, 
Together : New York, 1946), pp. 156-57. 

10 Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal, British 
Chief of the Air Staff, was suggested for the Deputy 
Supreme Commander post, Gen. Sir Harold R. L. G. 
Alexander for the Mediterranean command, and 
General Eisenhower for the European command in 
this unsigned and undated memo, The System of 
Command in the War against Germany, apparently 
written near the end of September 1943 by a mem- 
ber of the Operations Division of the War Depart- 
ment. OPD Exec, Bk 12, The memorandum, while 
not acted on at the moment, summed up several 
other proposals then in the air and foreshadowed 
the proposal the Joint Chiefs were to make in 
December 1943 at Cairo. Also of interest was a sug- 
gestion made by General Eisenhower in September 
1943 to Captain Butcher. The general proposed as 
a solution that General Marshall come to Europe to 
organize that theater, leaving a deputy chief of staff, 
possibly Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, in Wash- 
ington. When the European theater was properly 
organized, General Marshall could then go to the 
Pacific and repeat the operation. Diary Office CinC, 
16 Sep 43. 



28 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



would leave him a voice on the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff. The Americans undoubt- 
edly had few illusions that they could per- 
suade the British to accept all of these 
points. It is more likely that from the be- 
ginning they were ready to settle for some 
expansion of General Marshall's powers 
beyond those of Supreme Commander in 
Europe. 

Reports of these proposals reached the 
American press and allayed some fears 
that Marshall was to be removed from a 
role in determining Allied military policy. 
The same reports caused Mr. Churchill 
some uneasiness, and he wrote Mr. Hop- 
kins that the proposals were contrary to 
those agreed upon at Quebec. 11 

While these plans were being discussed 
in Washington and London, the President 
and his military advisers proceeded on the 
assumption that General Marshall would 
command the cross-Channel attack. Gen- 
eral Marshall himself began to make de- 
tailed suggestions for the command struc- 
ture of Operation Overlord. In October 
he invited his prospective chief of staff for 
the operation, General Morgan, to Wash- 
ington so that the British general could ac- 
quire information about the United States 
and its people which would be of value in 
dealing with Americans at Supreme Allied 
Headquarters. General Morgan, on his ar- 
rival in Washington, pressed for imme- 
diate appointment of the Supreme 
Commander, explaining that someone 
with authority was needed to secure the 
men and materiel for the operation. He 
carried his plea to the President but was 
told that General Marshall could not be 
spared at that time. Mr. Roosevelt was 
willing, however, for the British to name a 
Deputy Supreme Commander at once. 
The British Government repeated General 
Morgan's request in October, but again 



the President demurred, cabling this time 
that the appointment of a Supreme Com- 
mander would give away Allied plans to 
the enemy. He added that he had made no 
final decision on a replacement for a Chief 
of Staff, since it was possible that General 
Eisenhower, who was being considered for 
Marshall's place in Washington, would be 
made an army group commander in the 
cross-Channel operation. 12 

No final decision had been taken on the 
Supreme Commander and his deputy on 
the eve of the Allied conference at Cairo 
and Tehran at the end of November 1943. 
General Eisenhower, who was regarded as 
the likely successor to General Marshall as 
Chief of Staff, had been given no official 



11 Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, p. 441; 
Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 762. War Depart- 
ment planners' final draft presented in Joint Chiefs of 
Staff (JCS) paper, Command of British and U.S. 
Forces Operating against Germany, CCS 408, 25 Nov 
43, Sextant Conf Min. It is possible that Mr. 
Churchill's opposition to an over-all Allied command 
for General Marshall was responsible for the later 
charge that the British opposed Marshall's selection as 
Supreme Commander. It should be apparent that if 
the British desired to get rid of him as an opponent 
the best way to do it was to get him off the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff and into the Supreme Commander's 
position. No evidence exists that they ever opposed 
him for the Supreme Commander's post. Indeed, all 
the evidence is the other way. Both Admirals Leahy 
and King told the author in July 1947 that the British 
offered no opposition to Marshall as commander of 
the cross-Channel attack. This same statement had 
been previously made in the most categorical fashion 
to the author by Lords Alanbrooke, Portal, Cunning- 
ham, and Ismay. General Eisenhower said in 1943 
that he had been told by Mr. Churchill that the two 
Americans acceptable to him for the command of the 
cross-Channel attack were Generals Marshall and 
Eisenhower. Memo, Eisenhower, Diary Office CinC, 
6 Dec 43 ; Churchill, Closing the Ring, pp. 303, 305. 

12 Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, p. 442; 
Morgan, Notes on Visit to Washington, Oct-Nov 43. 
A copy of these notes was given to the author by 
General Morgan. Morgan, Overture To Overlord, Ch. 
VIII; Interv with Morgan, 2 Apr 46; Leahy, / Was 
There, pp. 190-91. The cable to the British was drafted 
by Leahy and Marshall. 



THE SUPREME COMMANDER 



29 



word, but various visitors to his headquar- 
ters from London and Washington in the 
fall of 1943 indicated that Marshall's ap- 
pointment as Supreme Commander and 
Eisenhower's transfer to Washington 
would soon be announced. General Eisen- 
hower had attempted to anticipate this 
latter move by sending word to Washing- 
ton through his chief of staff, Maj. Gen. 
Walter Bedell Smith, that he would prefer 
to serve under General Marshall as army 
group commander rather than take the 
post of Army Chief of Staff. 13 

The selection of General Marshall 
seemed certain when British and U.S. 
representatives, on their way to Cairo in 
November 1943, stopped by at Allied 
Force Headquarters where General Eisen- 
hower was in command. Mr. Hopkins said 
that General Marshall would definitely be 
Supreme Commander if the British did 
not "wash out" on the cross-Channel op- 
eration at Tehran. Admiral Ernest J. King, 
discussing the matter in the presence of 
General Marshall, told General Eisen- 
hower that the President had tentatively 
decided to give the command to the Chief 
of Staff against the advice of the other 
members of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff. The 
Prime Minister somewhat later, while ex- 
pressing his willingness to have either 
Marshall or Eisenhower, thought that the 
appointment would go to the Chief of Staff. 
Finally, in late November, the President 
himself explained the situation to General 
Eisenhower. Mr. Roosevelt was impressed 
by the fact that field commanders rather 
than chiefs of staff were remembered in 
history. He felt that General Marshall's 
contributions to American victory should 
be recognized by a command in the field, 
even at the expense of losing him as Chief 
of Staff. This statement seemed to clinch 
the matter, leaving General Eisenhower, 



on the eve of his appointment as Supreme 
Commander, to assume that his work as a 
field commander would soon be ended. 14 

Shortly before the conferences at Cairo 
and Tehran, the U.S. Chiefs of Staff dis- 
cussed plans for getting British consent to 
the appointment of General Marshall as 
commander of all western Allied opera- 
tions against Germany, and to the organi- 
zation of the strategic air forces in Europe 
and the Mediterranean under one head. 
General Marshall, embarrassed because 
the proposal that he command all Allied 
forces in Europe appeared over his signa- 
ture, declared that he would concentrate 
on pushing the plan to integrate strategic 
air forces in Europe. 15 

In their discussions en route to Cairo, 
the U.S. Chiefs of Staff also considered the 
possibility of giving over-all command of 
Allied operations to a British officer if that 
should be necessary to get British accept- 
ance of the Overlord operation. Church- 
ill's statement early in the conference 
that Overlord "remained top of the bill" 
made any concession unnecessary. On 25 
November, the U.S. Chiefs of Staff asked 
for an arrangement which, if accepted, 
would have placed firm strategic and tac- 
tical control in the hands of the Supreme 



13 See statements by Averell Harriman, Secretary 
of the Navy Frank Knox, Admiral Lord Louis Mount- 
batten, and Admiral Sir Andrew B. Cunningham in 
Diary Office CinC, entries for 5, 8, 15, and 28 Octo- 
ber 1943. General Smith reported after his return 
from Washington on 28 October 1943 that Marshall 
felt that any army group command would be a step 
down for Eisenhower and seemed to prefer that he 
take the position of Chief of Staff. Eisenhower's state- 
ment possibly was responsible for Roosevelt's remark 
noted above. See also Butcher, My Three Years With 
Eisenhower, p. 452. 

14 Memo, Eisenhower, Diary Office CinC, 6 Dec 
43; Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe (New 
York, 1948), pp. 197-98. 

15 JCS 123d-126th Mtgs, on shipboard, 15, 17, 18, 
and 19 Nov 43, ABC 334, JCS (2-14-42), Sees 5, 6. 



30 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Allied Commander. 16 With an American 
in the post, Washington, rather than Lon- 
don, would have the dominant voice in 
decisions on strategy. The U.S. Chiefs of 
Staff asked that Allied forces in the west be 
put at once under one commander, and 
that he should "exercise command over 
the Allied force commanders in the Medi- 
terranean, in northwest Europe, and of the 
strategic air forces." They added that any 
delay in adopting this plan was likely to 
lead to confusion and indecision. Under 
their proposal, the Supreme Commander 
would be directed to carry out the agreed 
European strategy. He would be charged 
with the location and timing of operations 
and with the allocation of forces and mate- 
riel made available to him by the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff. His decisions would 
be subject to reversal by the Combined 
Chiefs. 17 

The British, impressed by the "immense 
political implications" of a scheme which 
they felt should receive the earnest con- 
sideration of the British and U.S. Govern- 
ments, objected to the proposal. They 
pointed to political, economic, industrial, 
and domestic questions which a Supreme 
Commander would have to settle by refer- 
ence to the heads of the two governments. 
The Supreme Commander, they con- 
cluded, would be able to settle only com- 
paratively minor and strictly military 
matters. To an American argument that 
similar authority had been granted Mar- 
shal Ferdinand Foch in 1918, the British 
replied that the French commander had 
been given only the Western and Italian 
fronts, whereas the proposed arrangement 
would add to those two theaters the Bal- 
kan Front and the Turkish Front, if 
opened. They asked that the existing 
machinery for the high-level direction of 
war be retained, and that changes in it be 



confined to improving that machinery 
rather than embarking "upon an entirely 
novel experiment, which merely makes a 
cumbrous and unnecessary link in the 
chain of command, and which will surely 
lead to disillusionment and disappoint- 
ment." 18 

No agreement was reached by the U.S. 
and British representatives at Cairo before 
they recessed the conference to go to Teh- 
ran for a meeting with Marshal Joseph 
Stalin and his advisers. They were thus 
unprepared to answer the Russian leader 
on 29 November when he asked who was 
to lead the cross-Channel attack. He re- 
minded Roosevelt and Churchill that it 
was not enough to have a chief of staff in 
charge of Overlord planning, since a 
newly appointed Supreme Commander 
might disapprove of what had been done 
before his selection. If a commander was 
not appointed, Marshal Stalin said, noth- 
ing would come of the operation. At this, 
the President whispered to Admiral 
Leahy: "That old Bolshevik is trying to 
force me to give him the name of our 
Supreme Commander. I just can't tell him 
because I have not yet made up my 
mind." 

The Prime Minister replied to Stalin 
that the British had already expressed 
their willingness to serve under a U.S. 
commander in the Overlord operation. 
Apparently mindful of the unsettled mat- 
ter of the over-all command, Mr. Church- 

16 JCS 126th Mtg, on shipboard, 19 Nov 43, ABC 
334, JCS (2-14-42), Sees 5, 6; Sherwood, Roosevelt and 
Hopkins, p. 767; 2d plenary session, CCS, 24 Nov 43, 
at Cairo, Sextant Conf Min. 

11 Memo, JCS, Command of British and U.S. Forces 
Operating against Germany, CCS 408, 25 Nov 43, 
Sextant Conf Min. 

18 Memo, Br COS, Command of British and U.S. 
Forces Operating against Germany, CCS 408/1, 26 
Nov 43, Sextant Conf Min; Churchill, Closing the 
Ring, p. 305. 



THE SUPREME COMMANDER 



31 



ill added that decisions at the conference 
might have a bearing on the choice. He 
said that the President could name the 
Supreme Commander for Overlord if he 
accepted the British offer to serve under a 
United States commander, and proposed 
that when the selection was made the Rus- 
sian commander be told who it would be. 
Stalin hastily added that he had no desire 
to take part in the selection, but stressed 
the necessity of taking action as soon as 
possible. On 30 November, the President 
took notice of Stalin's interest in the mat- 
ter by saying that the selection would be 
made in three or four days, certainly soon 
after the return of the Allied delegations to 
Cairo. Marshal Stalin's pressure for the 
immediate naming of the Supreme Com- 
mander may have hastened by a few days 
the announcement of the selection, but 
that action had already been made essen- 
tial by the fact that the Allies were sched- 
uled to launch the cross-Channel opera- 
tion in May 1944, less than six months 
from the time of the conference. 19 

The proposal to appoint an over-all 
commander for the forces of the Allies in 
the west was apparently dropped just be- 
fore the Allied leaders left Tehran or 
shortly after they returned to Cairo. 20 The 
appointment of General Marshall merely 
to head the Overlord attack would 
mean, as Mr. Roosevelt well realized, that 
he would not be available to press the U.S. 
case in sessions of the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff. Knowledge of this fact may have in- 
creased the President's reluctance to fore- 
go the services of the Chief of Staff. Fur- 
thermore, he wanted to keep General 
Marshall in Washington to handle the 
ticklish problems of relations with the 
Pacific theater and with members of Con- 
gress. These matters, Mr. Roosevelt be- 
lieved, could be better handled by the 



Chief of Staff than by General Eisen- 
hower. On the other hand, he was con- 
vinced that Eisenhower could handle the 
European command successfully. Not 
only had he proved his ability to com- 
mand Allied forces in the Mediterranean 
theater, but his appearance before the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff at Cairo had 
demonstrated a firm grasp of the military 
situation and added to the good impres- 
sion he had previously made. Moreover, 
from the time of the first discussions of a 
Supreme Commander for Overlord his 
name had been coupled with that of Gen- 
eral Marshall's as a possible choice to lead 
the cross-Channel operation, and it was 
clear that he was completely acceptable to 
the British for the post. 21 

Still hesitant to make the final decision, 
the President on 4 December sent Mr. 



19 2d and 3d plenary sessions, Tehran Conf, 28, 30 
Nov 43, Eureka Conf Min; Leahy, / Was There, p. 
208. 

20 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, p. 791, quoting 
from a set of notes of the third plenary session at 
Tehran different from those available to the author, 
notes that Roosevelt on 30 November told Stalin that 
a decision had been made that morning to appoint 
one commander for Overlord, another for the Med- 
iterranean, and a third temporarily for the southern 
France invasion. It is possible that the over-all com- 
mander question was settled at this time. In any 
event, the Combined Chiefs of Staff on 3 December 
at their first formal meeting after returning to Cairo 
omitted the over-all command question from their 
agenda. They did include the questions of the integra- 
tion of the U.S. air command and the directive to the 
Supreme Commander, Mediterranean Theater. CCS 
133d Mtg, 3 Dec 43, at Cairo, Sextant Conf Min. 

21 Captain Butcher in an entry for 10 December 
1943 in Diary Office CinC records Hopkins' state- 
ment that Eisenhower's appearance before the Com- 
bined Chiefs at Cairo had made a good impression. 
Butcher also felt that Col. Elliott Roosevelt's out- 
spoken belief that Eisenhower had succeeded in get- 
ting British and American forces to work together and 
in synchronizing Allied air, sea, and land power may 
have played some part in the President's decision. A 
somewhat contradictory statement is given in Elliott 
Roosevelt, As He Saw It (New York, 1946), p. 168. 



32 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Hopkins to the Chief of Staff to ask if he 
would express a preference between his 
present position and that of Supreme 
Commander. General Marshall simply re- 
plied that he would accept any decision 
the President might make. On Sunday, 5 
December, Mr. Roosevelt personally in- 
vited the Chief of Staff to make the deci- 
sion. When Marshall repeated that any 
action of the President would be accept- 
able, Mr. Roosevelt remarked that he be- 
lieved he could not sleep at night with the 
Chief of Staff out of the country. The 
President then decided to name General 
Eisenhower Supreme Commander. 22 

The Cairo Conference adjourned with- 
out the establishment of an over-all Allied 
command and without the unification of 
British and U.S. strategic air forces in the 
Mediterranean and European theaters. 23 

An arrangement was made for a British 
officer to take charge of all Allied forces in 
the Mediterranean area with the title of 
Supreme Allied Commander, Mediter- 
ranean Theater (SACMED). The post 
went to Gen. Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, 
who was told to assume command from 
General Eisenhower when the latter, hav- 
ing regard to the progress of the operation 
then under way against Rome, thought it 
desirable. 24 

General Eisenhower's first hint of his 
appointment came on the morning of 7 
December in a somewhat cryptic radio- 
gram from General Marshall. Apparently 
assuming that General Eisenhower had 
been notified, Marshall said: "In view of 
the impending appointment of a British 
officer as your successor as Commander- 
in-Chief in the Mediterranean, please sub- 
mit to me in Washington your recom- 
mendations in brief as to the best arrange- 
ment for handling the administration, dis- 
cipline, training and supply of American 



troops assigned to Allied Force under this 
new command." Later in the same day at 
Tunis, where General Eisenhower had 
gone to meet the President and his party, 
Mr. Roosevelt himself notified the new 
Supreme Commander of his appoint- 
ment. 25 

General Eisenhower spent the remain- 
ing days of December in the Mediterra- 
nean theater continuing to supervise op- 
erations then in progress and preparing 
to hand over control of Mediterranean 
forces to General Wilson. The shifts in 
command were announced officially on 

22 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 802-03, 
has General Marshall's own account. Mrs. Marshall's 
Together, pp. 168-69, has a similar account. Stimson 
and Bundy, On Active Service, pp. 441-42, gives the 
President's version of the decision, and Stimson's 
reaction to it. Compare this treatment with Roosevelt, 
As He Saw It, p. 209, in which the President's son de- 
clares that in a conversation with him (Monday, 6 
December) the President said that the matter had 
not been finally decided, but that it seemed that 
Churchill would refuse to let Marshall take over. The 
Prime Minister's statement at Tehran and Roosevelt's 
offer of a choice to Marshall on Sunday, 5 December, 
indicate that the President was talking of opposition 
by the British to an over-all command for General 
Marshall and not to his command of Overlord. 
General Marshall on 6 December drafted for the 
President's signature a message to Marshal Stalin 
announcing, "The immediate appointment of Gen- 
eral Eisenhower to command the Overlord opera- 
tion has been decided upon." On the following day, 
at the conclusion of the Cairo Conference, the Chief 
of Staff sent the draft on to General Eisenhower as a 
memento of the appointment. Eisenhower, Crusade in 
Europe, p. 208; Stimson and Bundy, On Active Service, 
pp. 441-42. 

23 The U.S. Chiefs decided at this time to integrate 
their own strategic air forces in the two theaters. See 
below, pp. 48-49. 

24 The Combined Chiefs indicated that when 
Eisenhower's appointment was announced he would 
be given the title of Supreme Commander, Allied 
Expeditionary Force. CCS 138th Mtg, 7 Dec 43, 
Sextant Conf Min. 

25 Marshall's message of 6 December 1943 is quoted 
in Diary Office CinC, entry for 10 December 1943. 
For President Roosevelt's statement see Eisenhower, 
Crusade in Europe, pp. 206-07. 



THE SUPREME COMMANDER 



33 



24 December by the President and Prime 
Minister. At the same time, Mr. Church- 
ill announced that Gen. Sir Bernard 
Law Montgomery, commander of the 
Eighth British Army, would succeed Gen. 
Sir Bernard Paget as commander of 
the 21 Army Group. Near the end of 
December, at General Marshall's urging, 
General Eisenhower prepared to go to 
Washington to discuss with the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff the allocations of men and 
materiel for Overlord and to take a short 
rest. On 1 January 1944, after instructing 
Generals Montgomery and Smith to 
represent him in London until his return 
from Washington, and after a brief visit 
with the Prime Minister at Marrakech, 
Eisenhower left North Africa for the 
United States. 

The New Commander 

The newly appointed Supreme Com- 
mander had advanced rapidly since 
March 1941 when, as chief of staff of IX 
Corps at Fort Lewis, Washington, he had 
been promoted to the temporary rank of 
full colonel. At that time, with the United 
States still some months away from war, 
there was little to indicate that within 
three years he would be chosen for the 
chief Allied military role in the west. His 
early Army career after graduation from 
West Point in 1915 had included wartime 
tours of duty as an instructor at Fort Ogle- 
thorpe, Ga., Fort Meade, Md., and Fort 
Leavenworth, Kans., and as commandant 
of the tank training center at Camp Colt, 
Pa. Between the two wars he had gone 
through a number of Army schools, in- 
cluding the Infantry Tank School at Fort 
Meade, the Command and General Staff 
School at Fort Leavenworth, from which 
he graduated first in the class of 1926, the 



Army War College, and the Army Indus- 
trial College. His Army assignments in- 
cluded three years in Panama with the 
20th Infantry Brigade, a year in France 
while he was helping to revise the Ameri- 
can Battle Monuments Commission's 
Guidebook to American Battlefields in Europe, a 
tour of duty at the beginning of the thirties 
as assistant executive officer in the office of 
the Assistant Secretary of War, two years 
in the office of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, 
the Chief of Staff, and four years (1935- 
39) as senior military assistant to General 
MacArthur in the Philippines. He re- 
turned to the United States in 1939 and 
held in rapid succession the posts of execu- 
tive officer of the 15th Infantry Regiment, 
chief of staff of the 3d Division, and chief 
of staff of the IX Corps. 

In the summer of 1941 Colonel Eisen- 
hower was appointed chief of staff of Lt. 
Gen. Walter Krueger's Third Army, which 
was then preparing for the Louisiana 
maneuvers against Second Army. He was 
still inconspicuous enough to be identified 
in a picture taken during maneuvers as 
"Lt. Col. D. D. Ersenbeing," and to be 
dismissed by Second Army's intelligence 
section as a good plodding student. The 
results of the maneuvers, which newsmen 
hailed as a victory for the Third Army, 
brought him favorable acclaim for his 
performance as chief of staff. Jli In part be- 
cause of this work, but undoubtedly more 
because of his knowledge of the Philip- 
pines, he was brought to the War Plans 
Division of the War Department one week 
after the Pearl Harbor disaster as deputy- 
chief for the Pacific and Far East. 

Once started on his way up, General 
Eisenhower rose rapidly. Scarcely two 



Colonel Eisenhower was promoted to the tempo- 
rary rank of brigadier general after the maneuvers. 



34 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



months after he arrived in Washington, he 
succeeded Maj. Gen. Leonard T. Gerow as 
chief of the War Plans Division, which 
shortly afterward became the Operations 
Division of the War Department. 27 In this 
post, he strongly advocated making the 
main Allied effort in the European thea- 
ter, and helped to draw up plans for a 
cross-Channel attack. In May 1942 he 
went to London to inspect the organiza- 
tion of American forces in the United 
Kingdom. One month later General Mar- 
shall chose him to command the newly es- 
tablished Headquarters, European Thea- 
ter of Operations (ETOUSA), in Lon- 
don. 28 

While holding the ETOUSA command, 
the future leader of the cross-Channel at- 
tack was in close contact with the officers 
who were planning a proposed return to 
the Continent. He thus became acquainted 
with many of the Allied political and mili- 
tary leaders with whom he was later asso- 
ciated and became familiar with the broad 
outlines of a plan for cross-Channel op- 
erations. His work on these projects was 
interrupted in July 1942 by the decision to 
postpone the cross-Channel attack and 
launch an operation against North Africa. 
General Eisenhower was appointed com- 
mander in chief of the Allied forces for 
these operations. 29 Later as Allied com- 
mander in chief, he directed the attacks of 
1943 against Sicily and the south of Italy. 
He was engaged in planning future Italian 
operations when named by President 
Roosevelt to command the Allied Expedi- 
tionary Force in northwest Europe. 30 

General Eisenhower's career as a com- 
mander was a matter of acute interest to 
German intelligence agencies at the time 
of his assumption of command of the Al- 
lied Expeditionary Force. One estimate of 
the new Supreme Commander declared: 



Eisenhower is an expert on operations of 
armored formations. He is noted for his great 
energy, and his hatred of routine office work. 
He leaves the initiative to his subordinates 
whom he manages to inspire to supreme ef- 
forts through kind understanding and easy 
discipline. His strongest point is said to be an 
ability for adjusting personalities to one 
another and smoothing over opposite view- 
points. Eisenhower enjoys the greatest popu- 
larity with Roosevelt and Churchill. 31 

This estimate hit upon that quality of 
the Supreme Commander's most often 
stressed by those who knew him in the 
Mediterranean theater — the ability to get 
people of different nationalities and. view- 
points to work together. Making Allied 
understanding his keynote, he insisted 
continually that his staff officers lay aside 
their national differences in his command. 
His willingness to go an extra mile with 
the Allies drew from some U.S. officers the 
gibe that "Ike is the best commander the 
British have" and the view that, in all de- 
cisions settled on a 51-49 percent basis, the 
5 1 percent was always in favor of the non- 
Americans. 

His abijity to get along with people of 
diverse temperaments was perhaps best 
exhibited in the case of Gen. Charles de 
Gaulle, leader of the French Committee of 
National Liberation. The French chief, 



27 General Eisenhower was promoted to the tempo- 
rary rank of major general in March 1942. 

28 Roland G. Ruppenthal, Logistical Support of the 
Armies, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD 
WAR II (Washington, 1953), discusses this organiza- 
tion at some length. 

29 General Eisenhower became a lieutenant general 
in July 1942, a four-star general in February 1943, and 
a general of the army at the end of 1944. 

30 Biographical details may be found in Eisenhower, 
Crusade in Europe, and Kenneth S. Davis, Soldier of 
Democracy (New York, 1945). 

31 Luftwaffe Academy Lecture, Invasion Generals, 
Careers and Assessments, 7 Feb 44, Generalstab der 
Luftwaffe, 8. Abteilung (hist sec), British Air Ministry 
files. 



THE SUPREME COMMANDER 



35 



despite initial anger over General Eisen- 
hower's relations with Admiral Darlan 
and friendliness to General Giraud in 
North Africa, believed that the new Su- 
preme Commander was the one U.S. offi- 
cer with whom the French Committee 
could do business. 

General Eisenhower's conciliatory atti- 
tude was at times misleading. While genial 
in his approach, he could be extremely 
stern if the occasion demanded. His tem- 
per, as General Patton, among others, 
could testify, was sometimes explosive and 
his reprimands could be blistering. These 
traits were balanced by the gift of enor- 
mous patience. He showed a tendency to 
"make haste slowly" and to give people a 
chance to work out their own solutions. 

Despite remarkable self-possession, the 
Allied commander during the North Afri- 
can campaign showed at times that he 
lacked the thick skin which public figures 
so often require. He was extremely sensi- 
tive to newspaper charges that he was 
making political mistakes by insisting on 
dealing with matters in his theater on a 
purely military basis. At one point he re- 
torted that he would like to be allowed to 
fight the war and let the politicians take 
care of politics. 

Although at times General Eisenhower 



and his staff showed the same impatience 
with some of the advice and criticism of 
the Combined Chiefs and the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff that most military commanders 
and staffs show toward their superiors, his 
relations with the high-level chiefs were 
cordial. He maintained a close relation- 
ship with General Marshall. In frequent 
personal letters, Eisenhower outlined his 
views on coming campaigns or discussed 
frankly his successes and failures. General 
Marshall replied with letters of encourage- 
ment and sought new ways by which he 
could give additional aid to his subordi- 
nate. The Chief of Staff, aware -of Eisen- 
hower's great respect for him, prefaced 
any proffered opinion with such state- 
ments as "don't let this worry you," "don't 
let me influence your judgment," "tell me 
exactly what you need and we will get it 
for you." 

General Eisenhower brought to Eng- 
land in 1944 a reputation for dealing satis- 
factorily with British, French, and U.S. 
forces. He had established the basis for 
close co-operation with the heads of the 
Allied governments and the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff After a year of working 
with Allied forces in the Mediterranean 
area, he had demonstrated his knack for 
making a coalition work. 



CHAPTER II 



The Coalition Command 



Above the new Supreme Commander 
and his fellow commanders in the various 
theaters of operations of the world, there 
was a hierarchy of command, developed 
since 1942, which included the President 
of the United States, the Prime Minister of 
Great Britain, the heads of the executive 
departments which dealt with military 
matters, and an organization of British 
and U.S. armed services leaders known as 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff. 1 This 
hierarchy was responsible for the adoption 
of grand strategy and for the granting of 
directives to the Allied commanders in 
chief. Together with the Supreme Com- 
mander, Allied Expeditionary Force, and 
his chief subordinates they constituted the 
coalition command for the battle against 
Germany in northwest Europe. 

Heads of Governments 

The decisions of the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff reflected the views of the heads of the 
British and United States Governments 
who, with their cabinet advisers, deter- 
mined major national policies and strat- 
egy. President Roosevelt and Prime Min- 
ister Churchill differed somewhat in the 
degree of direct control which they exer- 
cised over their chiefs of staff. The Presi- 
dent, as Chief Executive of the United 
States and as Commander in Chief of its 
armed forces, attended the great confer- 
ences of the Allies and helped to determine 



broad policy. On other occasions, as in the 
decision for the North African expedition 
in 1942, he intervened in the specific deci- 
sions of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff. He kept 
in touch with the members of this group 
through his own chief of staff, Admiral 
William D. Leahy, who presided over 
their meetings and acquainted them with 
the President's views. Having outlined the 
policy he thought the United States should 
follow, Mr. Roosevelt was usually content 
to recommend to Congress and to the 
Prime Minister the detailed military 
measures which had been worked out by 
the U.S. Chiefs of Staff. On political issues 
affecting military operations, such as the 
recognition of the French Committee of 
National Liberation - or the development 
of the formula of unconditional surrender, 
he often did not consult his military advis- 
ers or paid little attention to their advice. 
In such cases, the President had a habit of 
consulting individuals outside the cabinet, 
such as Mr. Hopkins, or heads of depart- 
ments not directly concerned with military 
matters, such as Secretary of the Treasury 
Henry J. Morgenthau, Jr. This practice 
often left the Secretaries of War and Navy 
and the U.S. Chiefs of Staff without the 



1 Maurice Matloff and Edwin M. Snell, Strategic 
Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-42, UNITED 
STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washing- 
ton. 1953), discusses the Allied command structure 
at some length. 

- See below, pp. 140-52. 



THE COALITION COMMAND 



37 



information on his policy they found 
necessary for their own decisions. 3 

Mr. Churchill, as leader of his party in 
the House of Commons, as Minister of De- 
fence, and as head of the War Cabinet, 
had constitutional responsibilities to the 
British Parliament which required a closer 
connection than Mr. Roosevelt's with the 
conduct of operations. As Minister of De- 
fence, Churchill was linked to the British 
Chiefs of Staff Committee through Gen. 
Sir Hastings L. Ismay, his chief of staff, 
who regularly attended meetings of the 
British Chiefs. In addition, the Prime 
Minister himself frequently attended these 
sessions. It was the practice of Mr. 
Churchill, both because of his long-time 
interest in operational details and because 
of the British view that control must be 
maintained over commanders down to 
very low echelons, to keep much closer 
contact with field commanders than did 
President Roosevelt. In response to the 
Prime Minister's frequent demands for 
battle information, the various British 
commanders followed the practice of mak- 
ing reports direct to London. While still in 
the Mediterranean theater, General 
Eisenhower criticized this practice as "the 
traditional and persistent intrusion of the 
British Chiefs of Staff into details of our 
operation — frequently delving into mat- 
ters which the Americans leave to their 
Field Commanders." He described this 
type of activity on another occasion as 
"the inevitable trend of the British mind 
towards 'committee' rather than 'single 
command.' " Efforts by the U.S. Chiefs of 
Staff to restrict this kind of close control 
brought a protest from Churchill. The 
Prime Minister held that, whereas such 
aloofness looked simple from a distance 
and appealed to the American sense of 
logic, it was not sufficient for a government 



to give a General a directive to beat the 
enemy and wait to see what happens. The 
matter is much more complicated. The Gen- 
eral may well be below the level of his task, 
and has often been found so. A definite meas- 
ure of guidance and control is required from 
staffs and from the high Government author- 
ities. It would not be in accordance with the 
British point of view that any such element 
should be ruled out. 

So strong was Mr. Churchill's view on the 
subject of direct reports that Eisenhower 
on coming to the United Kingdom in Jan- 
uary 1944 signified his willingness to per- 
mit British commanders to continue the 
practice if the Prime Minister so desired. 4 

Combined Chiefs of Staff 

The permanent machinery through 
which Great Britain and the United States 
conducted the high-level control of the 
war — the Combined Chiefs of Staff — had 
been established in Washington in Jan- 
uary 1942. Its task was to formulate and 
execute, under the direction of the heads 
of the countries concerned, policies and 
plans relating to the strategic conduct of 
the war, allocation of munitions, broad 
war require ments, and transportation re- 
quirements. |f Chart J ) As it had developed 
by January im, tne organization con- 
sisted of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff and the 
British Chiefs of Staff or their designated 
representatives in Washington (British 



;i Ray S. Cline, Washington Command Post: The Oper- 
ations Division, UNITED STATES ARMY IN 
WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1951). 

4 Eisenhower's views on British practice are con- 
tained in a statement in Diary Office CinC, 16 Sep 
43, and in Ltr, Eisenhower to Marshall, 8 Feb 43, 
Eisenhower personal file. Churchill to Br COS, 24 Oct 

43, SHAEF SGS 322.01 1/1 Comd and Control for 
Opn Overlord. Speech, Eisenhower to his stf, 2 1 Jan 

44, Min of SAC's Confs. 



THE COALITION COMMAND 



39 



Joint Staff Mission). 5 After mid- 1942, the 
United States was represented by Admiral 
Leahy, General Marshall, Admiral Ernest 
J. King, Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, 
and Chief of Naval Operations, 6 and Gen. 
Henry H. Arnold, Commanding General, 
Army Air Forces. Their British opposite 
numbers, the Chiefs of Staff Committee, 
consisted of Field Marshal Sir Alan 
Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General 
Staff, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Dudley 
Pound (later replaced by Admiral of the 
Fleet Sir Andrew B. Cunningham), First 
Sea Lord, and Air Chief Marshal Sir 
Charles Portal, Chief of the Air Staff. Gen- 
eral Ismay attended the meetings, but did 
not sit as a member. 

In the course of the war, conferences of 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff were held 
with the President and the Prime Minister 
at Casablanca (Symbol), January 1943; 
Washington (Trident), May 1943; 
Quebec (Quadrant), August 1943; Cairo 
(SEXTANT)-Tehran (Eureka), November- 
December 1943; Quebec (Octagon), Sep- 
tember 1944; Yalta (Argonaut), Febru- 
ary 1945; and Potsdam (Terminal), July 
1945. 7 

Normally the decisions of the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff were made in Washington 
in periodic meetings of the U.S. Chiefs of 
Staff and the British Joint Staff Mission. 
Field Marshal Sir John Dill sat on the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff as a representa- 
tive of the Minister of Defence (Mr. 
Churchill), and officers of the three serv- 
ices represented the British Chiefs of Staff. 8 
The British Chiefs of Staff in London gen- 
erally made their views known in cables to 
Field Marshal Dill, who then outlined 
their proposals in meetings of the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff. Frequently he dis- 
cussed the British plans directly with 
General Marshall before the British views 



were taken up formally in the meetings. 
Because of the close relationship which ex- 
isted between the two men, it was often 
possible for Field Marshal Dill to iron out 
differences of opinion before the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff considered them for- 
mally. The ease of settling problems with 
Dill was probably responsible in part for 
Marshall's desire to centralize Combined 
Chiefs of Staff activities in Washington. 
The British, finding it much easier to settle 
matters with the COSSAC chief (and later 
with the Supreme Commander) and with 
other U.S. representatives in London, pre- 
ferred, as the time for invasion ap- 
proached, to transfer an increasing num- 
ber of Combined Chiefs of Staff functions 

5 Gordon A. Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, 
UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II 
(Washington, 1951), Ch. I, has an account of the de- 
velopment of this organization. 

6 Initially Admiral Harold R. Stark, as Chief of 
Naval Operations, and Admiral King, as Commander 
in Chief, U.S. Fleet, were both members of the U.S. 
Joint Chiefs of Staff. The offices held by Stark and 
King were combined in March 1942 and given to Ad- 
miral King. Stark went to London as Commander, 
U.S. Naval Forces in Europe. 

7 The official records of the conferences used the 
code words instead of place names for the confer- 
ences, while the press referred to place names. To 
avoid confusion place names are used throughout this 
volume except in the citation of documents or in 
direct quotations. Arcadia — the conference that 
established the Combined Chiefs of Staff — was actu- 
ally the first formal meeting of the President, Prime 
Minister, and the British and U.S. Chiefs of Staff. It 
was held December 1941-January 1942. 

8 Field Marshal Dill died in November 1944 and 
was replaced by Field Marshal Sir Henry Maitland 
Wilson. The original members of the Joint Staff Mis- 
sion in Washington were Lt. Gen. Sir Colville 
Weymss, head of the British Army Staff; Air Chief 
Marshal Sir Arthur T. Harris, head of the Air Staff; 
and Admiral Sir Charles Little, head of the British 
Admiralty Delegation. Later changes were as fol- 
lows: Maj. Gen. R. H. Dewing (March 1942), re- 
placed in June 1942 by Lt. Gen. G. N. Macready; 
Admiral Cunningham (June 1942), replaced in 
December 1 942 by Admiral Sir Percy Noble; Air Vice 
Marshal D. C. S. Evill (February 1942), replaced in 
June 1943 by Air Marshal Sir William Welsh. 



40 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 




CONFERENCE AT QUEBEC. Present at this meeting in August 1943 were (seated, left 
to right) Prime Minister Mackenzie King, President Roosevelt, and Prime Minister Churchill 
and (standing) General Arnold, Air Chief Marshal Portal, Field Marshal Brooke, Admiral 



to the British capital. This preference and 
interest may have influenced their willing- 
ness to have General Marshall as Supreme 
Commander and may have led them to 
withdraw any initial opposition they had 
to strong powers for the Supreme Com- 
mander of Operation Overlord. 

In issuing directives to the supreme 
commanders, the Combined Chiefs 
usually acted through the Chiefs of Staff of 
the country that provided the commander. 
The U.S. Chiefs of Staff, in turn, gave this 
task to the chief of the service that had 
supplied the commander. In the case of 
General Eisenhower, therefore, the wishes 
of the Combined Chiefs of Staff and the 
U.S. Chiefs of Staff were formally commu- 
nicated by General Marshall. The Su- 



preme Commander sent his messages to 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff through the 
same channel. There were some excep- 
tions, however, to the use of normal chan- 
nels. In initiating proposals on which it 
was believed that the Supreme Com- 
mander's recommendations would be re- 
quired, the British Chiefs of Staff fre- 
quently sent copies of their proposals 
directly to Eisenhower and asked htm to 
inform the U.S. Chiefs of Staff of his views. 
As a result he was sometimes able to have 
his recommendations in Washington by 
the time the British cable arrived. The U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff sometimes shortened the 
time necessary for decisions by permitting 
General Eisenhower to represent them in 
discussions with the British in London. 



THE COALITION COMMAND 



41 



They did not like to resort to this device too 
often, however, lest the Supreme Com- 
mander be influenced unduly by the views 
of the British Chiefs of Staff. On several oc- 
casions Marshall warned Eisenhower 
against acquiring a one-sided view of 
Anglo-American questions, and once, at 
least, asked the British Chiefs of Staff not 
to put their views before the Supreme 
Commander before the matter was dis- 
cussed by the Combined Chiefs of Staffin 
Washington. 

Inasmuch as orders to General Eisen- 
hower from the Combined Chiefs of Staff 
and the U.S. Chiefs of Staff were chan- 
neled through the War Department, it was 
possible for General Marshall to maintain 
a close relationship with the Supreme 
Commander and to keep the United States 
point of view constantly before him. This 
influence was balanced to a considerable 
degree by the frequent personal meetings 
between the Supreme Commander and 
the key British leaders, including General 
Eisenhower's attendance at some meet- 
ings of the British Chiefs of Staff. Eisen- 
hower made it a practice to lunch weekly 
with the Prime Minister and often brought 
General Smith, Lt. Gen. Omar N. Brad- 
ley, or some other American leader with 
him. Even after Supreme Headquarters 
was moved to France, the Prime Minister 
and the Chief of the Imperial General 
Staff kept in telephonic contact with the 
Supreme Commander and visited him 
several times at his headquarters. 

The Supreme Commander and His Subordinates 

Principle of Unity 
of Command 

Two years before General Eisenhower 
took his new post, the British and U.S. 



Chiefs of Staff had agreed that one Allied 
commander should have supreme com- 
mand in each theater of operations. This 
decision had followed General Marshall's 
strong plea for unified command. Pointing 
out that problems then being settled by 
the U.S. and British Chiefs of Staff would 
recur unless settled in a broader way, 
Marshall asked that one officer command 
the air, ground, and naval forces in each 
theater. He added that the Allies had 
come to this conclusion late in World War 
I but only after the needless sacrifice of 
"much valuable time, blood and treasure. 
. . ." Mr. Churchill had opposed this prin- 
ciple for the Pacific, where the various 
forces would be separated by great dis- 
tances, and had suggested instead individ- 
ual commanders who would be responsible 
to the Supreme Command in Washington. 
After some discussion, however, Marshall's 
views were accepted. A few days later, the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff named their first 
supreme commander — Gen. Sir Archibald 
P. Wavell — to command the air, ground, 
and sea forces of Australia, Great Britain, 
the United States, and the Netherlands in 
the Southwest Pacific. Although the need 
for this particular command disappeared 
almost as soon as it was formed, the prin- 
ciple was maintained, and other supreme 
commanders were chosen for areas of the 
Pacific, Middle East, Mediterranean, and 
European theaters. 9 

General Eisenhower gained his first ex- 
perience with the supreme commander 
principle as Allied commander in chief in 
the Mediterranean area. Here he discov- 
ered that British and United States con- 
cepts of the role of the supreme com- 
mander differed on the degree of control 



9 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 455-57; Har- 
rison, Cross-Channel Attack, p. 106. 



42 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



the Allied commander in chief was to be 
given over troops of nationality other than 
his own. Later, in the European theater, 
he discovered that considerable differences 
also existed as to the operational control 
which a supreme commander was ex- 
pected to exercise over the air, land, and 
sea forces under his command. 

Eisenhower approached his problem in 
the Mediterranean theater with the inten- 
tion of escaping the practice of the past in 
which "unity of command" had been a 
"pious aspiration thinly disguising the na- 
tional jealousies, ambitions and recrimina- 
tions of high-ranking officers, unwilling to 
subordinate themselves or their forces to a 
commander of different nationality or dif- 
ferent service." 10 He wished to escape 
these problems by developing an inte- 
grated command in which British and 
American officers were intermingled in 
each section of his headquarters. Under 
any organization of command, however, 
he discovered that he had to struggle 
against the influence of differing national 
points of view and a tradition of far looser 
alliances. 

The British, with many years of ex- 
perience in coalition warfare, followed an 
older concept of allied command when, in 
1943, they drew up their instructions plac- 
ing Lt. Gen. K. A. N. Anderson, com- 
mander of the First British Army in North 
Africa, under General Eisenhower's com- 
mand. Copying the directives given to 
Field Marshal Douglas Haig in World 
War I and to British commanders in 
World War II, when they were placed 
under commanders of a different national- 
ity, the British Chiefs of Staff declared: "If 
any order given by him [the Allied Com- 
mander in Chief] appears to you to imperil 
any British troops in the Allied Force even 



though they may not be under your direct 
command, it is agreed between the British 
and United States governments that you 
will be at liberty to appeal to the War 
Office before the order is executed." 11 
Following a principle which he was to em- 
phasize throughout his service as an Allied 
commander, General Eisenhower asked 
Prime Minister Churchill and the British 
Chiefs of Staff for a directive stressing the 
unity of the Allied forces. He contended 
that they were "undertaking a single, uni- 
fied effort in pursuit of a common object 
stated by the two governments; and that 
for attainment of this object our sole en- 
deavor must be to use every resource and 
effort for the common good." The British 
acceded to this request. They revised Gen- 
eral Anderson's instructions to say that, in 
the unlikely event he should be given an 
order which would give rise to a grave and 
exceptional situation, he had a right to ap- 
peal to the War Office, "provided that by 
so doing an opportunity is not lost nor any 
part of the Allied Force endangered. You 
will, however, first inform the Allied Com- 
mander in Chief that you intend so to ap- 
peal and you will give him your reasons." 
This was satisfactory to Eisenhower, who 
sent a copy to the War Department as a 
useful model "in future cases of this 
kind." 12 



10 CinC Dispatch, North African Campaign, MS, 
p. 1, OCMH files. 

11 Annex, Ltr, Stirling to Eisenhower, 8 Oct 42, 
SGS AFHQ 381-2, quoted in History of AFHQ, 
August-December 1942, 1945, MS, OCMH files. 

12 For exchange of correspondence, see entry for 9 
October 1942 in Diary Office CinC. General Ismay 
informed the author on 20 December 1947 that he re- 
called no similar instructions being issued Mont- 
gomery in 1944. Something like the "model" instruc- 
tions were later issued by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to 
Lt. Gen. Joseph T. McNarney when he assumed com- 
mand of U.S. Forces in the Mediterranean theater. 



THE COALITION COMMAND 



43 



Control by the Supreme Commander 

In the course of planning for the cross- 
Channel operation, the British and U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff differed over the degree of 
control the Supreme Commander should 
exercise over operations. The British, ac- 
customed to a committee type of joint 
command in which no service had over-all 
control, favored a plan which gave broad 
powers to the land, sea, and air command- 
ers under the Supreme Commander. 
Under this system, the Allied commander 
in chief became a chairman of a board 
rather than a true commander. The U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff opposed the British sugges- 
tions as "destructive in efficiency in that 
none of them provide for an absolute unity 
of command by the Supreme Commander 
over all elements land, air and naval. . . ." 13 

Illustrative of the British views was a 
Royal Air Force suggestion that the staff 
of the Supreme Commander concern itself 
primarily with inter-Allied issues which 
would be largely political. Under the Su- 
preme Commander three Allied com- 
manders in chief would implement all 
broad decisions through their staffs, each 
of which would be organized on a com- 
bined basis. 14 

The matter of command was brought to 
a head in the summer and fall of 1943 
when General Morgan pressed for an 
agreement on the ground command in the 
assault and for a directive to the Allied 
tactical air force commander. In the initial 
outline of the Overlord plan, the 
COSSAC chief recommended that the 
Allied forces i^i the initial assault be under 
a British army commander and that the 
Allied ground forces be under a British 
army group commander until the Brest 
peninsula had been taken or a U.S. army 



group had been established on the Conti- 
nent, whichever development came first. 15 
Lt. Gen. Jacob L. Devers, the U.S. thea- 
ter commander, in early September took 
exception to the Morgan proposal. He felt 
that it would put units smaller than a 
corps under direct British command and 
would deprive the Supreme Commander 
of operational control in the early stages of 
the assault. 16 He suggested instead that 
separate U.S. and British zones of action 
be established with all U.S. forces, land, 
sea, and air, under a single U.S. com- 
mander, and that both Allied forces be di- 
rected and controlled as self-sufficient 
units by the Supreme Commander. His 
proposal for close co-ordination of the ini- 
tial assault by the advanced headquarters 
of SH AEF was considered unsound by the 
COSSAC staff members who held that 
Supreme Headquarters was a strategic and 



13 Br COS Memo, CCS 75, 5 Jun 42; JCS Memo, 
CCS 75/1,26 Aug 42. 

14 RAF Note on Comd Organization, 16 Apr 43, 
SHAEF SGS 322 Comd and Control of Allied Air 
Forces. It should be noted that at a time when it ap- 
peared that a British commander would lead the 
cross-Channel forces, U.S. military leaders had sug- 
gested proposals somewhat like those recommended 
by the British. For example, Eisenhower, in the Op- 
erations Division of the War Department in May 
1942, had suggested something like the system dis- 
cussed above. See Eisenhower proposals, 1 1 May 42, 
CofS file, Bolero 381. 

15 Appreciation of Opn Overlord Plan, Sec. 40, 
Pt. I, SHAEF SGS 381 Opn Overlord, 1(a). Mor- 
gan's proposals included three other principles which 
were to be accepted: (1) British-Canadian forces 
should be based on ports nearest the United Kingdom 
to simplify lines of communications, since it was as- 
sumed that U.S. forces would ultimately be supplied 
direct from the U.S. and would need to be on the 
western side of the attack; (2) normally no formation 
smaller than a corps should be placed under com- 
mand of another nationality; and (3) troops of both 
nationalities should take part in the assault. 

16 The initial COSSAC plan for Overlord called 
for one U.S. and three British divisions in the assault 
under a British army commander. 



44 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



not a tactical command. They felt it 
unorthodox to cut out army group and 
army headquarters, and saw no place 
where the Supreme Commander could go 
forward to direct the battle in the early 
phases and still be in touch with the Allied 
governments. 17 

The British Chiefs of Staff on 1 1 Sep- 
tember 1943 gave their backing to the 
COSSAC command proposals and asked 
the U.S. Chiefs of Staff for their comments. 
The American answer had not been de- 
livered when, on 12 October, the British 
pointed to the need of integrating U.S. 
and British tactical air forces under an 
Allied tactical air commander and sub- 
mitted a draft directive for U.S. approval. 
A week later, the U.S. Chiefs of Staff de- 
clared that "the issuance by the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff of directives to subordinates 
of the Supreme Allied Commander is un- 
sound." They made clear that the earlier 
proposal to specify the nature of the 
ground organization was an encroach- 
ment on the powers of the Supreme Com- 
mander. 18 

Attempting to get an early solution to 
the ground and air command questions, 19 
General Morgan discussed the problems 
with General Marshall in Washington in 
late October and early November 1943. 20 
The COSSAC chief found that the U.S. 
Army Chief of Staff thought that "he 
should in some way control the assaulting 
army although I am quite certain that his 
conception falls far short of what we under- 
stand by the term 'command.' " The 
deputy chief of COSSAC, Brig. Gen. Ray 
W. Barker, pointed out that while the 
initial assault had to be commanded by an 
army commander, who would be suc- 
ceeded by an army group commander 
about D plus 6, the Supreme Command 
"could and would intervene at any time" 



the situation seemed to warrant such ac- 
tion. This procedure, he noted, had been 
followed at Salerno when Generals Eisen- 
hower and Alexander had taken a hand in 
the battle, the former ordering the whole 
weight of naval and air forces into the ac- 
tion. In the assault stages of the cross- 
Channel operation, it would again be the 
air and sea forces that the Supreme Com- 
mand would employ to influence the 
course of the battle. General Barker pro- 
posed that complete telephonic, tele- 
graphic, and radio contact be provided 
with forward units, so that the Supreme 
Commander could be in the closest touch 
with the battle and could intervene 
quickly if the necessity arose. General 
Morgan approved this suggestion and in- 
dicated that he would tell General 
Marshall that arrangements would be 
made for him to participate directly in the 
battle when it took place. 21 

Discussions of the British draft directive 
for the tactical air forces were expanded in 
November to include the strategic air 
forces as well. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff pro- 
posed at that time to set up an Allied 
Strategic Air Force that would include 
British and U.S. strategic forces in both 



17 Draft Ltr (unsigned), Devers to Morgan, 4 Sep 
44; Comments of COSSAC staff on Devers' letter, 
undated; Memo on Devers' letter, 10 Sep 43. All in 
SHAEF SGS 322.01 1/1 Comd and Control for Over- 
lord. Morgan to Devers, 16 Sep 43, ABC (22 Jan 
43), Sec 1. 

18 CCS 304/2, 304/3, and 304/4, 12 and 19 Oct 43. 

19 The naval command question, which was left 
largely to the British, was not as difficult as the other 
two. This was true chiefly because of the assumption 
until shortly before D Day that the British would 
furnish nearly all the naval support for the assault. 

20 It should be remembered that at this time it was 
generally believed that Marshall would command the 
Overlord operation. 

21 Morgan to Barker, 28 Oct 43; Barker to Morgan, 
3 Nov 43; Morgan to Barker, 6 Nov 43. All in Barker 
personal file. 



THE COALITION COMMAND 



45 



the European and Mediterranean theaters. 
General Marshall, holding that a com- 
mittee could not fight the war, wanted 
part or all of the strategic air forces, as well 
as the tactical air forces, put under the 
Supreme Commander. The British Chiefs 
of Staff, while willing to let the Supreme 
Commander control those strategic air 
forces in support of his operations once the 
cross-Channel attack began, wanted to re- 
tain full control of their RAF Bomber 
Command. In their opinion, this organiza- 
tion was so highly specialized and so firmly 
rooted in the United Kingdom that "effec- 
tive operational control could only be ex- 
ercised through Bomber Command head- 
quarters." 22 

The Combined Chiefs of Staff ulti- 
mately decided that they would have to 
postpone a decision on the strategic air 
forces and approve a directive concerning 
tactical forces only. Perhaps to preserve 
the shadow of the Supreme Commander's 
right to issue directives to his subordinates, 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff permitted 
General Morgan to issue in the name of 
the Supreme Commander the directive to 
the Commander-in-Chief, Allied Expedi- 
tionary Air Force. 21 

The matter of the ground command was 
also settled temporarily during November. 
When General Morgan returned to Lon- 
don from Washington in that month, he 
carried with him Marshall's views on the 
organization of the ground forces for the 
assault. Near the end of November the 
COSSAC chief discussed the matter with 
the Allied naval and air commanders and 
shortly thereafter, acting in the name of 
the Supreme Allied Command, issued a 
directive to the 21 Army Group com- 
mander. This officer, then General Paget, 
was made jointly responsible with the 
Commander, Allied Naval Expeditionary 



Force, and the Commander, Allied Ex- 
peditionary Air Force, for planning the 
assault. When so ordered, he was also to 
be responsible for its execution "until such 
time as the Supreme Allied Commander 
allocates an area of responsibility to the 
Commanding General, First Army 
Group." The 21 Army Group commander 
was informed that the assault would be 
made by two corps under the Command- 
ing General, First U.S. Army, who would 
remain in charge of land operations until 
such time as the British commander felt 
that a second army headquarters should 
be brought in. 24 

Later when the enlargement of the as- 
sault force and the area to be attacked re- 
quired the landing of two armies instead of 
two corps, the 21 Army Group com- 
mander was charged with the task of com- 
manding land operations. 25 He was thus 
made de facto commander of the ground 
forces in the assault but was never given 
the title of ground commander. Further, 
while his tenure in this temporary posi- 
tion was not made clear, it was certain that 
the arrangement could be changed when 
the Supreme Commander so decided. 

The Organization of the Subordinate Commands 

While the question of the Supreme 
Commander's control over operations was 



22 CCS 124th and 126th Mtgs, 22 Oct and 5 Nov 
43; JSM to Br COS, 6 Nov 43. Both in SHAEF SGS 
322.01 1/2 Dirs to Subordinate Comdrs. 

-•■ Marshall to Devers, R-5874, 18 Nov 43, Hq SOS 
file, gives text of agreement of CCS on directives to 
Leigh- Mallory. Morgan Dir to Leigh-Mallory, 16 
Nov 43. SHAEF SGS 322.01 1 /3 Summary ofDirs. 

-•' Mtg of comdrs, 25 Nov 43, SHAEF SGS 
322.01 1 /2 Dirs to Subordinate Comdrs; COSSAC 
Dirs to CinC 21 A Gp, 29 Nov 43, SHAEF SGS 
322.01 1/1 Comd and Control for Opn Overlord. 

- ' Sec below, pp. 180-81. 



46 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 




AIR CHIEF MARSHAL LEIGH- 
MALLORY 



being considered, the subordinate com- 
mands were being organized and their 
commanders were being selected. The 
easiest problem to solve was that of the 
naval command. On the assumption that 
the Royal Navy would furnish most of the 
naval forces for the Overlord operation, 
the Admiralty in May 1943, shortly after 
the organization of COSSAC, had di- 
rected Admiral Sir Charles Little, Com- 
mander-in-Chief, Portsmouth, to proceed 
with naval planning for the cross-Channel 
operation and instructed him to increase 
his staff sufficiently to aid COSSAC in its 
work. By the summer of 1943, it was clear 
that some U.S. naval forces would have to 
be added to the attack, but that the British 
effort was still paramount. Admiral King 



at that time instructed Admiral Stark, 
chief of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, to 
supplement the efforts of the U.S. mem- 
ber of the Naval Planning Branch of 
COSSAC. The Combined Chiefs of Staff 
at the Quebec Conference in August 1943 
regularized the naval arrangement by 
naming Admiral Little as Allied Naval 
Commander-in-Chief (Designate) for the 
Overlord operation. The selection was 




ADMIRAL RAMSAY 

temporary since Mr. Churchill, who had 
Admiral Sir Bertram H. Ramsay in mind 
for the post, accepted it only on condition 
that it be reviewed later. On 25 October 
1943, Admiral Ramsay, who had or- 
ganized the British naval forces for the 
withdrawal at Dunkerque and had later 
commanded task forces in the Mediter- 



THE COALITION COMMAND 



47 



ranean, was selected as Allied Naval 
Commander.- 6 

Rear Adm. Alan G. Kirk, former Chief 
of Naval Intelligence in Washington and 
later Commander, Amphibious Force, 
Atlantic Fleet, in the fall of 1943 was made 
commander of U.S. naval forces for the 
cross-Channel attack. In this capacity he 
had operational control of all U.S. naval 
forces in Europe except those in the south 




GENERAL BRERETON 



of France. Administratively the elements 
under Kirk were controlled by Admiral 
Stark's headquarters in London. Opera- 
tional control of the U.S. forces to be used 
in the cross-Channel attack was given Ad- 
miral Ramsay on 1 April 1944. 27 French 
naval forces taking part in the attack were 
attached to Admiral Kirk's force by Ad- 




GENERAL SPAATZ. (Photograph taken 
m 1946.) 



miral Thierry d'Argenlieu, commander of 
the French Navy, and were organized into 
a cruiser division under Rear Adm. Robert 
Jaujard. In January 1944, Admiral Ram- 
say named Admiral Kirk as commander 
of the Western Task Force and Rear Adm. 
Sir Philip L. Vian as commander of the 
Eastern Task Force for the D-Day assault. 28 

88 Mr. Churchill's surprise at the British proposal 
of Admiral Little and his reservations are noted in 
Quebec Conf Min, 23 Aug 43. Ltr, H. N. Morrison to 
Admiral Ramsay, 4 Nov 43, SHAEF SGS 322 Organ- 
ization and Personnel ANCXF, 

" CinC U.S. Fleet and CNO to Comdr U.S. Forces, 
Europe, 29 Oct 43, SHAEF SGS 322.01 1/2 Dirs to 
Subordinate Comdrs. 

21 Dir, Admiral Ramsay to Naval Comdr, Western 
Task Force, 31 Jan 44; Dir, Admiral Ramsay to Naval 
Comdr, Eastern Task Force, 18 Jan 44. Both in 
SHAEF SGS 322.01 1/2 Dirs to Subordinate Comdrs. 



48 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Efforts to organize the Allied tactical 
air command for Overlord had begun in 
the spring of 1 943 when Air Chief Marshal 
Portal proposed that Air Marshal Sir 
Trafford Leigh- Mallory, head of the RAF 
Fighter Command, be considered for the 
post of Commander, Allied Expeditionary 
Air Force. 29 Portal suggested that, in case 
the Allies were unwilling to make a final 
decision at the time, they direct Leigh- 
Mallory to give advice on tactical air 
planning without prejudice to the eventual 
appointment of someone else. On receiv- 
ing a favorable reaction to this proposal 
from General Devers, the U.S. Chiefs of 
Staff agreed to Portal's plan and the 
British Chiefs of Staff issued appropriate 
orders to Leigh- Mallory in late June 1943. 
At Quebec the following August, the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff named Air Chief 
Marshal Leigh-Mallory as commander of 
the Allied Expeditionary Air Force for the 
cross-Channel operation. 30 

Under the terms of the directive that 
Leigh-Mallory received in mid-November 
1943, the RAF Tactical Air Force and air 
units which might be allotted the Air 
Defence of Great Britain 31 were to pass to 
the Allied Expeditionary Air Force im- 
mediately, and the Ninth U.S. Air Force 
on 15 December 1943. The U.S. force, 
commanded by Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brere- 
ton, had been brought to the United 
Kingdom in September 1943. It included 
all U.S. tactical air forces in the United 
Kingdom. Administrative control over 
Ninth Air Force training, supply, and 
personnel remained in the hands of the 
main U.S. air headquarters in the United 
Kingdom, United States Strategic Air 
Forces (USSTAF). 32 

U.S. proposals for the consolidation of 
U.S. and British strategic air forces in the 
European and Mediterranean theaters 



under the Supreme Commander — pre- 
sented without success in Washington in 
the fall of 1943 — were again brought for- 
ward at the Cairo Conference. The British 
objected to the over-all command, but re- 
luctantly agreed to support any adminis- 
trative arrangement the United States 
wished to make for its strategic air forces 
in the Mediterranean and the European 
theaters. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff at the 
close of the Cairo Conference ordered the 
establishment of the U.S. Strategic Air 
Forces in Europe. Lt. Gen. Carl Spaatz, 
commander of the U.S. air forces in the 
Mediterranean and of the Northwest Afri- 
can Air Forces, was named chief of the 
new headquarters. He was given opera- 
tional control of the Eighth Air Force in 
the United Kingdom and the Fifteenth 
Air Force in the Mediterranean, and ad- 
ministrative control of the Eighth and 
Ninth Air Forces. Spaatz's control was 
subject to two restrictions: the Chief of the 
Air Staff, RAF, representing the Com- 



29 Before this time the U.S. strategic air forces sent 
to the United Kingdom for participation in the 
Pointblank operation against Germany in 1943 were 
placed, along with RAF Bomber Command, under 
the strategic direction of Air Chief Marshal Portal, 
who acted as agent of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. 

30 Portal to Devers, 16 Jun 43; Maj Gen Ira C. 
Eaker to Devers, 17 Jun 43; Devers to Portal, 19 Jun 
43. All in AG Active Records Branch 312.1 Devers 
Correspondence (1943). Portal's proposal to Br COS, 
COS (43) 125th Mtg, 16 Jun 43, SHAEF SGS 
322.01 1/2 Dirs to Subordinate Comdrs; CCS 1 13th 
Mtg, 20 Aug 43, Quebec Conf Min. 

31 Air Defence of Great Britain replaced Fighter 
Command in spring of 1944. (Leigh-Mallory was di- 
rectly responsible to the British Chiefs of Staff for the 
Air Defence of Great Britain until such time as his 
headquarters moved overseas when separate arrange- 
ments were to be made.) In October 1944 Fighter 
Command was revived. Journal of the Royal United 
Service Institution, XC, February 1945. 

32 Marshall to Devers, R-5874, 18 Nov 43, Hq SOS 
file, gives text of agreement of CCS on directives to 
Leigh-Mallory. Dir, Morgan to Leigh-Mallory, 16 
Nov 43, SHAEF SGS 322.01 1/3 Summary of Dirs. 



THE COALITION COMMAND 



49 



bined Chiefs of Staff, was to co-ordinate 
bomber forces in Operation Pointblank, 
the Combined Bomber Offensive; the U.S. 
theater commanders in case of necessity 
could declare a state of emergency and 
make such use of strategic air forces as they 
found necessary at the time. 33 

As no agreement was reached in the 
summer or fall of 1943 on the selection of 
a ground force commander comparable in 
authority to the Allied naval and air force 
commanders, it became clear that the as- 
signment would be likely to devolve on an 
Allied army group or army commander 
as a temporary appointment during the 
assault phase. The British had a claim on 
this post, not only because the initial as- 
saults were to be made from Britain, but 
because they had both an army group and 
an army headquarters organized and 
available to start assault planning by the 
time the COSSAC plan was drawn up. 34 
General Morgan and General Devers 
urged in the summer of 1943 that the 
United States establish similar headquar- 
ters in the United Kingdom, but not until 
October were the 1st U.S. Army Group 
and First U.S. Army activated. 

General Paget was selected as the first 
commander of 21 Army Group. When it 
became apparent that this headquarters 
would command the Allied forces in the 
assault, it became necessary to place an 
officer recently seasoned in combat at its 
head. For this post the Prime Minister and 
the Chief of the Imperial General Staff 
chose General Montgomery, who had led 
the Eighth British Army to victory in 
Africa, in Sicily, and in Italy. His appoint- 
ment was announced on Christmas Day, 
1943. General Eisenhower was not con- 
sulted officially on this selection, inasmuch 
as it was one solely for the British to make. 
He had earlier expressed a preference for 



Gen. Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander, who 
had served as Allied army group com- 
mander in Italy, but was told that the offi- 
cer could not be spared from the Mediter- 
ranean theater. 35 

In selecting the commander of Second 
British Army, General Montgomery 
turned to the Mediterranean theater and 
gave his backing to Lt. Gen. Miles C. 
Dempsey, who had commanded a corps in 
Italy in Montgomery's army. Early in 
1944, Gen. Henry D. G. Crerar, who was 
commanding a Canadian corps in Italy, 
was appointed commander of the First 
Canadian Army. 

The command of both the 1st U.S. 
Army Group and the First U.S. Army was 
given temporarily in the fall of 1943 to 
General Bradley. Separate headquarters 
were organized, the army at Clifton Col- 
lege, Bristol, and the army group at Bry- 
anston Square, London. 36 

The Supreme Commander's Directive 

General Eisenhower assumed command 
of the Allied forces in mid-January 1944, 
but did not receive a directive until nearly 
a month later. A draft had been submitted 
to the Combined Chiefs of Staff as early as 
30 October 1943, but the failure of the 
U.S. and British Chiefs to agree on the 
exact powers of the Supreme Commander 

33 Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., 
The Army Air Forces in World War II; II, Europe— 
TORCH to POINTBLANK, August 1942 to December 
1943 (Chicago 1949), pp. 751-56. 

31 2 1 Army Group, Second British Army, and 
Headquarters, First Canadian Army, were all acti- 
vated in the summer of 1943. 

35 Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, p. 2 1 1 ; Ltr, Eisen- 
hower to Marshall, 24 Aug 43, Eisenhower personal 
file. 

36 Omar N. Bradley, A Soldier's Story (New York, 
1951), Ch. I. It is clear that General Bradley was the 
first choice of both General Marshall and General 
Eisenhower for this post. 



50 




GENERAL BRADLEY. (Photograph 
taken in 1950.) 



or the precise objectives to be assigned re- 
sulted, as in the case of Air Chief Marshal 
Leigh-Mallory's directive, in a long delay. 

The obstacles to agreement on these and 
other points lay in differences of policy 
which had existed between the British and 
U.S. leaders since 1942. On the chief 
point— that the main effort of the Western 
Allies should be exerted against Ger- 
many — there was no dispute. On the man- 
ner in which that aim was to be achieved 
there was less agreement. The differences 
had their origins in the national interests 
of the United States and Great Britain, in 
their past history, and in the political 
philosophy of their leaders. If these ele- 
ments are taken into account, it becomes 
clear that the controversies which some- 
times marked the meetings of the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff were not personal 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 

quarrels growing out of individual ambi- 
tions or bias or pique. Nor were they based 
on national antipathies, though the dis- 
cussions were sharpened at times by 
clashes of temperament and personality 
and by differences of national interests. 
Rather they reflected the fact that allies, 
like the different armed services of a na- 
tion, can agree thoroughly on the big issue 
of war and yet have entirely opposite con- 




GENERAL MONTGOMERY 



cepts of the way in which the main object 
is to be reached. A failure to understand 
this fact could reduce the story of this 
great allied coalition, perhaps the most 
successful in history, to a study in personal 
and national recriminations. 

In the making of Allied grand strategy, 
the selection of a Supreme Commander, 
and the writing of his directive, the Allies 
often disagreed as to the best way to over- 



THE COALITION COMMAND 



51 



come Germany. The United States, be- 
lieving that only a power drive to the heart 
of the Continent would defeat the enemy 
quickly, chose the cross-Channel operation 
as the speediest and least costly of lives in 
the long run. The British, in the light of 
heavy commitments around the world and 
their doubts of the wisdom of a direct at- 
tack on enemy fortifications in northwest 
Europe, preferred to approach the enemy 




GENERAL CRERAR 



by flanking movements in the Mediter- 
ranean theater. 

There was, of course, more to the mat- 
ter than this. The United States in its de- 
sire to end the war in Europe quickly was 
motivated in large part by the fact that 
there were strong demands in the United 
States for greater pressure against Japan. 
The Navy in particular was reluctant to 




GENERAL DEMPSEY 



take additional forces from the Pacific for 
operations which seemed not to affect di- 
rectly the war against Germany. There 
was also the suspicion that the British had 
long-range interests in the Mediterranean 
area which were no affair of the United 
States, and that U.S. resources should not 
be diverted from the principal operation to 
any enterprise which was not specifically a 
part of the main offensive against the 
enemy. 

To the British, the attack in the Medi- 
terranean was the best way of fighting the 
Germans, with the additional virtue of 
aiding British interests. It appeared, at 
times, that the Americans were not being 
completely realistic in their planning, and 
a note of asperity sometimes crept into the 
arguments of the British planners when 
they concluded that the Americans on the 



52 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



ground of eschewing politics were urging 
a strategy that would prove costly in men 
and materiel. Some British representatives 
also had the feeling that the United States 
was not thoroughly aware of all the politi- 
cal and strategic implications involved in 
a European war. As a result, particularly 
in the first months after the Japanese at- 
tack at Pearl Harbor, there was a tend- 
ency for the British to attempt to instruct 
the U.S. representatives in the proper 
forms of strategy. This created the impres- 
sion in some quarters that the British were 
trying to control Allied operations. As a 
counteraction to this, the American repre- 
sentatives sought to control or have an 
equal share in the management of opera- 
tions which involved large numbers of 
U.S. troops. 

In describing the mission and outlining 
the powers of the Supreme Allied Com- 
mander, the British Chiefs of Staff were 
aware that the Allied commander in chief 
would come from the U.S. Army. Since 
this fact could give additional weight to 
U.S. views on operations, the British de- 
sired to delimit in precise terms the nature 
of the Supreme Commander's task, and to 
broaden the powers of the chief air, 
ground, and sea commanders, most or all 
of whom would be British. TheU.S. Chiefs 
of Staff preferred to write the directive in 
broad terms and limit the powers of the 
subordinate commanders. In their pro- 
posals, they suggested grants of authority 
to the Allied commander in chief over 
British and U.S. forces which the British 
Chiefs of Staff would have been unwilling 
to give one of their own commanders. 

When on 5 January 1944 the British 
Chiefs of Staff submitted a draft directive 
enumerating the duties of the subordinate 
commanders in chief, General Morgan, 
who had earlier warned General Marshall 



of the plan, 17 objected in particular to a 
listing of the powers of the ground force 
commander, which he believed would 
later cause embarrassment to the Supreme 
Commander. The COSSAC chief urged 
that this section of the draft directive be 
limited to a listing of land forces to be 
placed at the disposal of General Eisen- 
hower, leaving him free to issue such direc- 
tives to his army group commanders as he 
saw fit. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff suggested 
that the appendixes in the British plan 
dealing with Allied commanders be con- 
sidered only as informational guidance for 
the Supreme Commander. After some dis- 
cussion, the British Chiefs agreed to strike 
out these sections. ' 8 The way was thus left 
open for the Supreme Commander to de- 
velop his control over the forces put under 
his command without being hampered by 
restrictions. The Combined Chiefs of Staff 
did leave one important command ques- 
tion unanswered, however, when they 
postponed for later settlement the problem 
of what proportion of the Allied strategic 
air forces in Europe should be placed un- 
der the Supreme Commander. 

The demarcation of the Supreme Com- 
mander's "task" in the directive consti- 
tuted still another problem for the Com- 



17 General Morgan had written in November that 
the British Chiefs of Staff would soon submit a direc- 
tive for the ground force commander which "pre- 
scribes a command relationship within a component 
element of the forces under the command of SAC 
[the Supreme Allied Commander] and assigns a mis- 
sion to the commander of that element. This is con- 
sidered to be an exclusive function of SAC." Morgan 
to Marshall, 18 Nov 43, SHAEF SGS 322.01 1/2 Dirs 
to Subordinate Comdrs. 

Br COS toJSM, 5 Jan 44; Morgan to Marshall 
for Eisenhower, 7 Jan 45. Both in SHAEF SGS 
322.01 1 CCS Dir to SCAEF. A number of chartsof 
proposals and counterproposals submitted by the U.S. 
and British Chiefs of Staff in January and February 
1944 and correspondence containing the arguments 
and final decision may also be found in the above file. 



THE COALITION COMMAND 



bined Chiefs of Staff, The U.S. Chiefs of 
Staff held that the British had not gone far 
enough in their initial statement, "You 
will enter the Continent of Europe and 
undertake operations to secure lodgments 
from which further offensive action can be 
aimed at the heart of Germany." Fearful 
that the British might be trying to limit 
operations to establishment of a beach- 
head and a holding action, while the main 
operations went on elsewhere, the U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff insisted on a more positive 
order: "You shall enter the Continent . . . 
and undertake operations striking at the 
heart of Germany and destroy her forces." 
This bold declaration seemed unrealistic 
to the British in view of the fact that the 
available Allied force of forty divisions was 
obviously insufficient to overwhelm the 
German Army. Amendments were ulti- 
mately added to the American version, 
which retained the aim of the U.S. state- 
ment, while associating the forces of the 
United Nations in the operation. This re- 
vised draft was accepted by the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff on 1 1 February, and the 
final directive was issued on 12 February 
1944. 3B 

The Combined Chiefs of Staff directive 
to General Eisenhower declared: 

1 . You are hereby designated as Supreme 
Allied Commander of the forces placed under 
your orders for operations for the liberation 
of Europe from the Germans. Your title will 
be Supreme Commander, Allied Expedi- 
tionary Force. 

2. Task. You will enter the continent of 
Europe, and, in conjunction with the other 
United Nations, undertake operations aimed 
at the heart of Germany and the destruction 
of her armed forces. The date for entering the 
Continent is the month of May 1944. After 
adequate channel ports have been secured, 
exploitation will be directed to securing an 
area that will facilitate both ground and air 
operations against the enemy. 



3. Notwithstanding the target date above, 
you will be prepared at any time to take im- 
mediate advantage of favorable circum- 
stances, such as the withdrawal by the enemy 
on your front, to effect a re-entry into the 
Continent with such forces as you have avail- 
able at the time; a general plan for this oper- 
ation when approved will be furnished for 
your assistance. 

4. Command. You are responsible to the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff and will exercise 
command generally in accordance with the 
diagram at Appendix A. Direct communica- 
tion with the United States and British Chiefs 
of Staff is authorized in the interest of facili- 
tating your operations and for arranging 
necessary logistic support. 

5. Logistics. In the United Kingdom the 
responsibility for logistics organization, con- 
centration, movement and supply of forces to 
meet the requirements of your plan will rest 
with British Service Ministries so far as 
British Forces are concerned. So far as 
United States Forces are concerned, this 
responsibility will rest with the United States 
War and Navy Departments. You will be re- 
sponsible for the co-ordination of logistical 
arrangements on the continent. You will also 
be responsible for co-ordinating the require- 
ments of British and United States Forces 
under your command. 

6. Co-ordination of operations of other Forces 
and Agencies. In preparation for your assault 
on enemy occupied Europe, Sea and Air 
Forces, agencies of sabotage, subversion and 
propaganda, acting under a variety of 
authorities, are now in action. You may 
recommend any variation in these activities 
which may seem to you desirable. 

7. Relationship to United Nations Forces in 
other areas. Responsibility will rest with the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff for supplying infor- 
mation relating to operations of the forces of 
the U.S.S.R. for your guidance in timing 
your operations. It is understood that the 
Soviet forces will launch an offensive at about 
the same time as Overlord with the object of 
preventing the German forces from transfer- 
ring from the Eastern to the Western front. 
The Allied Commander-in-Chief, Med iter - 



'■<>• See entire file SHAEF SGS 322.01 1 CCS Dir to 
SCAEF. 



h 

a 
a 
a. 

X 



< 
z 



c 

z 
< 

o 



< 








THE COALITION COMMAND 



55 



ranean Theater, will conduct operations de- 
signed to assist your operation, including the 
launching of an attack against the south of 
France at about the same time as Overlord. 
The scope and timing of his operations will be 
decided by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. You 
will establish contact with him and submit to 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff your views and 
recommendations regarding operations from 
the Mediterranean in support of your attack 
from the United Kingdom. The Combined 
Chiefs of Staff will place under your com- 
mand the forces operating in Southern 
France as soon as you are in a position to as- 
sume such command. You will submit timely 
recommendations compatible with this 
regard. 

8. Relationship with Allied Governments — the 
re-establishment of Civil Governments and Liber- 
ated Allied Territories and the administration of 
Enemy Territories. Further instructions will be 
issued to you on these subjects at a later date. 

Under the provisions of this document, 
General Eisenhower, who had been func- 
tioning as Supreme Commander for 



nearly a month, assumed formal command 
of Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expedi- 
tionary Force, on 13 February, and on the 
following day announce d the name s of his 
principal staff officers. ^° \( Chart 2 ) \ 

The Supreme Commander had good 
reasons for being pleased with his direc- 
tive. Stated in the most general terms, it 
left him great freedom in exercising com- 
mand and in outlining the details of his 
operations against Germany. The restric- 
tive features which might have reduced 
him to the position of a political chairman 
of allied forces or which would have nar- 
rowed the scope of his mission had been 
omitted. The greatest allied army in his- 
tory had been placed under his control. 

4(1 The Supreme Commander's General Order I, 
announcing assumption of Supreme Command ef- 
fective at 1201, was dated 13 February 1944. General 
Order 2, listing appointments, is dated 14 February 
1944. 



CHAPTER III 



The Nature ofSHAEF 



Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expedi- 
tionary Force, was formally established in 
London in mid-February 1944, but it had 
actually been in the process of develop- 
ment for more than two years. It drew its 
basic principles of organization and many 
of its key personnel from two headquarters 
which had been established many months 
before. One of these, Allied Force Head- 
quarters (AFHQ), which had served as 
General Eisenhower's command post in 
the Mediterranean theater, had provided 
a laboratory for testing principles and pro- 
cedures of the command and training of 
U.S. and British staffs in combined oper- 
ations. The other, Headquarters, Chief of 
Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander 
(COSSAC), had been established in the 
spring of 1943 to plan the cross-Channel 
attack and to serve as the nucleus for the 
ultimate Supreme Headquarters. 

Contributions of A FHQ 

The importance of AFHQJs contribu- 
tion to the SHAEF organization was 
expressed in General Eisenhower's post- 
war judgment that some of his key advisers 
in northwest Europe had learned "during 
the African campaigns, the art of dealing 
with large Allied forces, operating under 
single command." At AFHQ, General 
Eisenhower had developed an integrated 
command in which British or U.S. officers 
of a staff division could make decisions af- 



fecting forces of either nationality. Officers 
were carefully selected for their ability to 
fit into such a staff. Many of them, other- 
wise capable, were transferred when found 
unsuitable for such an assignment. The 
task, as Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur W. 
Tedder, the Deputy Supreme Commander 
of SHAEF, later testified, involved "get- 
ting the right people and being ruthless . . . 
and you must be ruthless. ... If a man 
does not fit he will never learn the lan- 
guage and you will never make a team; 
that is the guts of the whole thing, the 
team. . . ." 1 U.S. officers who were not 
wholly in accord with General Eisen- 
hower's weeding-out process had a grim 
joke to the effect that the way to get sent 
back to the United States "by slow boat" 
was to say something insulting about a 
foreign officer of the headquarters. Others 
charged the British with using the com- 
plaint that certain officers were un-co- 
operative to rid the headquarters of 
United States officers who were aggressive 
in defending the American point of view. 
To General Eisenhower, the important 
thing was to establish a completely Allied 
headquarters. When he went to SHAEF 
he was able to take key advisers from 
AFHQ and be certain that he would have 



1 Address of Lt. Gen. W. B. Smith, "Problems of 
an Integrated Headquarters," Journal of the Royal 
United Service Institution, XC (November, 1945), 455- 
62, with statements by Lord Tedder; Eisenhower, 
Crusade in Europe, p. 134. 



THE NATURE OF SHAEF 



57 



men who were thoroughly sold on Allied 
co-operation. 

As Allied commander in chief in the 
Mediterranean theater, General Eisen- 
hower learned the metier of Supreme 
Command and became familiar with most 
of the problems he later faced at SHAEF. 
Questions such as the recognition of a 
French political authority, the formulation 
of civil affairs and military government 




GENERAL DEVERS. (Photograph 
taken in 1946.) 

programs, the proper handling of press 
relations, the expansion of the psycholog- 
ical warfare program, and the establish- 
ment of air-ground co-operation all reap- 
peared in the European Theater of 
Operations. Not only had the Supreme 
Commander been schooled in the tech- 
niques of approaching these problems, but 




GENERAL BARKER 

he trained a staff that was also familiar 
with them. Ultimately Allied Force Head- 
quarters furnished SHAEF with the 
Supreme Commander, Deputy Supreme 
Commander, chief of staff, chief adminis- 
trative officer, chief of intelligence, deputy 
chief of operations, deputy chief of civil 
affairs, chief of press relations, chief of the 
psychological warfare division, and adju- 
tant general. The British Chiefs of Staff in 
filling key command and staff positions for 
the invasion of northern France also drew 
on the Mediterranean for a number of 
men acquainted with Eisenhower and his 
staff. This list included the chiefs of staff 
of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force and 
the Allied Naval Expeditionary Force; the 
commander of British land forces and his 
chief air commander; and the British 
army commander for the invasion. The 



58 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Canadian commander had also served in 
Italy. United States officers who had for- 
merly served under General Eisenhower 
in the Mediterranean before coming to the 
United Kingdom included the chief of the 
United States Army Air Forces in Europe, 
the commander of the Eighth Air Force, 
and the commanders of the two U.S. 
armies listed for participation in the early 
phases of the attack. 

Contributions of COSSA C 

In many ways, Supreme Headquarters 
was a continuation of the COSSAC staff 
which had been organized in April 1943 
along lines discussed by the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff in January 1943 at Casa- 
blanca and modified in March and April. 
General Morgan, as Chief of Staff to the 
Supreme Allied Commander (Designate), 
had been directed to prepare a diversion- 
ary plan with the object of pinning the ene- 
my in the west and keeping alive the 
threat of a cross-Channel attack in 1943 
(Cockade), to plan a return to the Con- 
tinent in the event of German disintegra- 
tion (Rankin), and to plan a full-scale 
assault on the Continent as early as pos- 
sible in 1944 (Overlord). 2 

The COSSAC staff was developed 
throughout 1943 on the basis that it would 
serve ultimately as the staff of the Supreme 
Commander. Its chief and many of its 
members were taken into the SHAEF 
organization. It was thus possible not only 
to preserve but also to draw upon the ideas 
of early planning groups which had 
preceded COSSAC. 

Before his appointment as COSSAC 
chief, General Morgan had recommended 
that a staff be formed immediately as "the 
nucleus of the eventual Allied GHQin the 
field" and that it be prepared at the 



earliest moment to assume direction of all 
offensive enterprises initiated from the 
United Kingdom. He proposed to com- 
bine from the beginning all functions of 
planning and execution and to direct all 
future activity toward the defeat of the 
German Army. He desired complete 
amalgamation of the U.S. and British 
services in the machinery of the high com- 
mand with the understanding that the ul- 
timate issue would be decided by the 
Allied strategic reserve of land forces, 
"namely the American army." 3 

General Morgan set up his staff in Lon- 
don at Norfolk House, St. James's Square, 
built on the site of the birthplace of George 
III of England. With the aid of his U.S. 
deputy, Maj. Gen. Ray W. Barker, the 
COSSAC chief began to select the future 
SHAEF staff and to outline the operations 
which the future Supreme Commander 
was to carry into effect. When, in the late 
summer of 1943, it became clear that an 
American officer would become the Su- 
preme Commander, he sought to place 
Americans in a number of key spots and to 



2 Code names mentioned above were supplied later. 
For background of COSSAC, see Maj Duncan Emrich 
and Maj F. D. Price, History of COSSAC, prep at 
SHAEF, 1945, MS, OCMH files; CCS 169, 22 Jan 
43; 67 th Mtg, 22 Jan 43, Casablanca Conf Min; COS 
(43) 105 (0), 8 Mar 43; COS (43) 110 (0), 9 Mar 43; 
COS (43) 148 (0), 23 Mar 43; COS (43) 170 (0), 1 
Apr 43; COS (43) 215 (0), 26 Apr 43. These COS (43) 
papers are in SHAEF SGS files, Bundle D, COS (43) 
Papers, I, 1-299. See also COS (43) 55th Mtg (0) 
25 Mar 43; COS (43) 57th Mtg (0), 26 Mar 43; COS 
(43) 64th Mtg (0), 2 Apr 43; COS (43) 67th Mtg (0), 
6 Apr 43; COS (43) 85th Mtg (0), 23 Apr 43. These 
documents are in SHAEF SGS files, Bundle B, COS 
(43) Min, I. 

3 Memo, Gen Morgan, 23 Mar 43, Annex, Cross 
Channel Operations, COS (43) 148 (0); Interv with 
Gen Morgan, 8 Feb 47; Morgan, Overture to Overlord, 
Ch. I. General Morgan indicated in a speech of 17 
April 1943 that he was following suggestions of Lt. 
Gen. Frank M. Andrews, Commanding General, 
ETOUSA. SHAEF SGS Min of COSSAC Confs. 



THE NATURE OF SHAEF 



59 



reorganize COSSAC along American 
lines. Much of this work was handed over 
to General Barker, the ranking U.S. officer 
at the headquarters . As a result of this 
shift, two U.S. officers were brought to 
London as deputy chiefs of the operations 
and supply sections with the understand- 
ing that they would later head these two 
sections under the Supreme Commander. 
General Eisenhower's chief of publicity 
and psychological warfare and members 
of the civil affairs section of Allied Force 
Headquarters were also brought to 
COSSAC in the fall of 1943 to prepare for 
roles in SHAEF/ 

General Marshall, in September 1943, 
at the time when it was assumed he would 
lead the cross-Channel operation, told 
General Devers, Commanding General, 
ETOUSA, that full support must be given 
General Morgan "in his difficult task of 
organizing an efficient, operational staff 
for our Supreme Commander." General 
Marshall suggested that the Supreme 
Headquarters have General Morgan as 
chief of staff, U.S. officers as deputy chief 
of staff and chief of operations, a British 
officer as chief of intelligence, and a British 
officer as chief of administration until the 
bulk of supplies began to come from the 
United States, at which time he would be 
replaced by a U.S. officer. Marshall pro- 
posed that the press and propaganda sec- 
tions be headed by U.S. and British 
officers with coequal powers. He added 
that in each staff section the second in 
command was to be of the nationality op- 
posite to that of his chief. In order that the 
staff should be well balanced, General 
Marshall recommended strong naval, air, 
and ground representation, with a possible 
reduction of naval representation after the 
initial assault. The Allied naval and air 
staffs were to be of a size necessary "to 



effect the coordinated direction of the 
forces" under their commands. 5 

Both General Marshall and General 
Morgan believed that the ultimate Su- 
preme Headquarters should be modeled 
on Marshal Foch's World War I staff, de- 
scribed by the COSSAC chief as a "really 
small body of selected officers who dealt 
with the major decisions on broad lines, 
the day-to-day work of the war being 
delegated completely to the commanders 
of army groups." K Such a headquarters 
would have been sufficient only for a Su- 
preme Commander who was merely 
chairman of the Allied forces. Once it be- 
came clear that General Eisenhower 
would direct operations, the need for a 
larger staff became apparent. 

The appointment of General Eisen- 
hower as Supreme Commander also re- 
quired other changes in the COSSAC 
plans. It was natural that the new com- 
mander, having developed a satisfactory 
staff at Allied Force Headquarters, would 
want to bring a number of his advisers 
with him. Even before he assumed his new 
post, General Eisenhower directed Gen- 
eral Smith to study the personnel situation 

4 Emrich and Price, History of COSSAC, pp. 9-11; 
Morgan, Overture to Overlord, pp. 213-22. 

"• Marshall to Devers, 24 Sep 43, OPD Exec. Mor- 
gan, Overture to Overlord, Ch. IX, is valuable on the 
organization of the staff. 

" Address, Morgan to stf, 1 7 Apr 43, SHAEF SGS 
Min of COSSAC Coni's. The author has been unable 
to find a precise list of the officers on Foch's staff. Sir 
Frederick Maurice, Lessons of Allied Co-Operation, 1914- 
1918 (London, 1942), p. 142, speaks of Foch starting 
with a small staff of about a dozen officers and later 
adding an administrative stafT. Gen. Maxime Wey- 
gand, Foch (Paris, 1947), pp. 199-200, indicates that 
outside of the members of the Allied missions, who 
had access to the office of the General Staff, there was 
a group of about twenty officers with the Commander 
in Chief of the Allied Armies. The author is indebted 
to Dr. T. D. Shumate, Jr., who is working on a study 
of the Supreme War Council in World War I, for 
these references. 



60 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



for SHAEF. This officer, after studying the 
COSSAC organization, proposed changes 
in it based on Allied experiences at 
AFHQ. He initially asked for an enlarged 
staff, on the ground that the existing or- 
ganization was not large enough for a 
commander who intended to control oper- 
ations in the field. Fresh from the Mediter- 
ranean headquarters, General Smith was 
aware that civil affairs, press relations, 
psychological warfare and other such ac- 
tivities of an Allied headquarters would 
require large staffs. To fill these and other 
posts in the new SHAEF organization he 
began to draw on Allied Force Headquar- 
ters for key officers whose names had 
already been suggested by General Eisen- 
hower. 7 

A steady flow of personnel northward 
began in January 1944 and increased until 
the British Chief of the Imperial General 
Staff feared that the new Supreme Com- 
mander, Mediterranean, would not have 
enough experienced officers to run his 
headquarters. The new arrivals intro- 
duced changes in several COSSAC divi- 
sions, although an attempt was made to 
retain most of the COSSAC members and 
reassure them about the intentions of the 
new regime. General Eisenhower at the 
outset made clear that he had no purpose 
of sweeping clean the organization which 
was already functioning in London. 
Rather he wished "to integrate himself 
upon the existing staffs in SAC" 8 and 
develop the same unity of action which 
had prevailed in the Mediterranean. Gen- 
eral Morgan was made deputy chief of 
staff of SHAEF, General Barker was 
placed at the head of one of the general 
staff divisions, and other key members of 
the COSSAC staff were retained in their 
positions. By selecting men from both 
headquarters who were faithful to the idea 



of "integration," the Supreme Com- 
mander was able to make the transition 
without serious disturbance, although 
several division heads were replaced and 
other personnel shifted. For a time the 
COSSAC members, who had been plan- 
ning the cross-Channel invasion for a 
number of months, resented the newcom- 
ers' boasts of the "sand in their boots" 
they had picked up in North Africa. The 
Allied Force Headquarters officers, for 
their part, often complained that the 
COSSAC people lacked real knowledge of 
combat and were inclined to be academic 
in their approach to operational planning. 
Both groups, in time, found it necessary to 
coalesce in the face of British and U.S. 
combat soldiers from the Mediterranean 
theater who were inclined to smile at the 
suggestion that members of high level 
headquarters knew anything about battle 
conditions. By the eve of the invasion, the 
integrated SHAEF staff was functioning as 
an efficient unit." 

The Chief Deputies 

Air Chief Marshal Tedder was chosen 
as Deputy Supreme Commander of 
SHAEF in January 1944. General Eisen- 
hower did not have a hand in his selection, 
but he was highly pleased that the British 
made this choice. The two men had been 
closely associated in the Mediterranean 

7 Interv with Gen Smith, 13 May 47; Interv with 
Brig Gen Thomas J. Betts, former deputy G-2 of 
SHAEF, 19 May 50. 

* In this case SAC is used to mean Supreme Head- 
quarters. Normally it was used as an abbreviation for 
Supreme Allied Commander. General Eisenhower 
was also frequently referred to as SCAEF (Supreme 
Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force). 

Sl Address, Eisenhower to members of his stf, 24 Jan 
44, summarized in Min of SAC's Confs. Statements 
as to integration of SHAEF based on interviews by 
author with many members of the SHAEF staff. 



THE NATURE OF SHAEF 



61 



theater and shared the same views on the 
integration of Allied staffs. General Eisen- 
hower had proposed Tedder for the post of 
chief airman at SHAEF before he knew 
that the British officer was being con- 
sidered for the post of deputy. Tedder had 
served as British air commander in the 
Middle East in 1942, helping to stop Gen- 
eralfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel's ad- 
vance toward Egypt. The air marshal's 
forces had also contributed significantly to 
the success of General Montgomery's El 
Alamein attack and the subsequent drive 
toward Tunisia. From 17 February 1943 
until his appointment as Deputy Supreme 
Commander, Tedder had served as Com- 
mander in Chief, Mediterranean Allied 
Air Forces, which included RAF Middle 
East, RAF Malta Air Command, and the 
Northwest African Air Forces. The North- 
west African command included British 
and U.S. air forces in support of General 
Eisenhower. In the Mediterranean post, 
Tedder came to be held in high esteem by 
many of the U.S. and British airmen who 
were later brought to the United King- 
dom to command various air units in sup- 
port of the cross-Channel attack. German 
intelligence agencies showed a wholesome 
respect for the new deputy. Shortly after 
his selection, one of them reported: 

Tedder is on good terms with Eisenhower 
to whom he is superior in both intelligence 
and energy. The coming operations will be 
conducted by him to a great extent. He re- 
gards the Air Force as a "spearhead artillery" 
rendering the enemy vulnerable to an attack. 
His tactics in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, 
based on this theory, provided for air support 
for the advance of even the smallest Army 
units. . . . Under Tedder's influence the co- 
operation between the Air Force and Army 
has become excellent. 

Tedder does not take unnecessary risks. 
Unless other factors play a part, he will 
undertake the invasion only after achieving 




AIR CHIEF MARSHAL TEDDER 



complete air supremacy and after large-scale 
bombing of the Reich. 

Tedder is said to be taciturn especially 
since he lost his eldest son in an air battle 
over London. He is very popular with the 
troops on account of his consideration and 
unassuming appearance. 

Obviously we are dealing here with one of 
the most eminent personalities amongst the 
invasion leaders. 10 

Air Chief Marshal Tedder became the 
chief co-ordinator of Allied air efforts in 
support of the cross-Channel operation. 
The Deputy Supreme Commander made 
no effort to form a special staff through 
which to deal with air activities, restricting 
his function in many cases to that of a 



10 Luftwaffe Academy Lecture, Invasion Generals, 
Careers and Assessments, 7 Feb 44, Generahtab der 
Luftwaffe, 8. Abteilung (hist sec), British Air Ministry 
files. 



62 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



chairman or moderator of daily air confer- 
ences at which the chief strategic and tac- 
tical air commanders were represented. 
He also worked with the Air Staff 
(SHAEF) which was set up under a sep- 
arate deputy chief of staff for air. 

Tedder participated in General Eisen- 
hower's morning conferences, giving ad- 
vice both as Deputy Supreme Commander 
and as chief airman. The demands of air 
activities on his time and the fact that 
Tedder was not a ground force officer led 
many members of the SHAEF staff to con- 
sult him only on air matters. General 
Eisenhower used his deputy frequently to 
explain SHAEF policy to the British 
Chiefs of Staff and occasionally sent him 
on highly important missions, such as that 
to Moscow in January 1945. In the early 
months of the Overlord operation, the 
Supreme Commander charged his deputy 
with the task of insuring that ground com- 
manders asked for and got the air support 
necessary for their operations. Tedder also 
intervened directly when he felt it neces- 
sary to bar projects that he considered 
wasteful of planes or contrary to existing 
doctrines of proper employment of air 
forces in combat. In all these assignments, 
he worked quietly and effectively, taking 
many problems, particularly those relat- 
ing to the air forces, off the Supreme Com- 
mander's shoulders. 11 

General Eisenhower had chosen as his 
chief of staff at SHAEF the officer who 
had held a similar post in the Mediter- 
ranean theater. 12 Prime Minister Church- 
ill suggested that General Smith stay at 
Allied Force Headquarters as deputy com- 
mander but, in the face of General 
Eisenhower's insistence, gave way. Smith 
had served before the war as Secretary of 
the General Staff in the War Department 
and later as secretary to the Combined 



Chiefs of Staff in Washington. He was 
thoroughly acquainted with high-level 
staff work and with the individuals who 
made up the Supreme Allied Command. 
Capable of being extremely tough and 
brusque in manner, he also knew the 
value of the smooth approach. He was 
thus useful as a hatchet man for the Su- 
preme Commander, and also qualified to 
represent him in missions which required 
diplomatic skill. General Eisenhower con- 
sidered him a perfect chief of staff. 

General Smith guarded the approaches 
to General Eisenhower somewhat more 
jealously than the British staff members of 
SHAEF would have liked. He directed the 
flow of correspondence into his office and 
cut down the number of direct contacts 
between the Supreme Commander and 
the SHAEF deputies and staff members. 
Shortly after his arrival Smith made a 
major change in that direction by reorgan- 
izing the Central Secretariat of COSSAC, 
headed by Maj. Martin McLaren, along 
lines of the American Secretary of the 
General Staff system. He attempted to run 
the new staff for a time with Major 
McLaren and Col. Dan Gilmer, who had 
been secretary of the general staff in the 
Mediterranean, but the experiment 
proved unsuccessful. Colonel Gilmer went 
to the War Department as chief of the 
European theater section of the Opera- 
tions Division, and Major McLaren to the 
G-3 Division of SHAEF. Lt. Col. Ford 
Trimble, onetime aide of Gen. Douglas 



11 Interviews with many members of the SHAEF 
staff, including Genera] Smith, Air Chief Marshal Sir 
James M. Robb, and General Morgan in 1946 and 
1947, and especially with Wing Commander Leslie 
Scarman, wartime personal assistant to Air Chief 
Marshal Tedder, 25 February 1947. 

'-' General Smith was also the chief of staff of Head- 
quarters, European Theater of Operation. 



THE NATURE OF SHAEF 




GENERAL SMITH 



Mac Arthur, became secretary of the gen- 
eral staff. 13 

In accord with American practice all 
staff studies originating in the SHAEF 
divisions came to the chief of staff before 
being passed on to the Supreme Com- 
mander. In this way papers that did not 
need General Eisenhower's approval were 
handled by General Smith. Many items of 
correspondence prepared for the Supreme 
Commander's signature were issued by 
the chief of staff for his chief without being 
passed on to him. To make certain that 
General Eisenhower was kept informed of 
all action, the secretary of the general staff 
prepared a special log of incoming and 
outgoing messages which was shown to 
him each day. Careful lists of all decisions 
by the chief of staff were kept for the in- 
spection of the Supreme Commander. The 
chief of staff held his own dally morning 



63 

conference just before that of the Supreme 
Commander. In the latter conference it 
was possible for key U.S. and British mem- 
bers of the staff to present matters directly 
to the Supreme Commander. 

The office of the chief of staff was tightly 
organized and its head gained the reputa- 
tion of a driver. His ruthless cutting of ver- 
biage from papers and his demand for 
clearly stated proposals were a great aid to 
efficiency. At the risk of exercising some of 
the functions that belonged to the Deputy 
Supreme Commander, he also saved Gen- 
eral Eisenhower from many details of ad- 
ministration which could have become 
overwhelming. While in London, General 
Smith saw the Prime Minister and mem- 
bers of the British Chiefs of Staff frequently 
and proved helpful to Eisenhower in work- 
ing out numerous details with them. He 
was even more valuable in dealing with 
the French after SHAEF moved to the 
Continent, consulting with Gen. Alphonse- 
Pierre Juin and Maj. Gen. Pierre Joseph 
Koenig on matters pertaining to the liber- 
ation of France. 

The selection of General Smith as chief 
of staff filled the place which had previ- 
ously been intended for General Morgan. 
Since it was felt that the COSSAC chief 
might hot want to serve in a lesser post at 
Supreme Headquarters, arrangements 
were made to offer him command of a 
British corps. Instead Morgan asked to 
serve in some capacity in SHAEF. There- 
upon, General Eisenhower accepted Gen- 
eral Smith's recommendation that the 
former COSSAC head become deputy 
chief of staff. In this post, General Morgan 
acted from time to time as chief of staff. 



13 Colonel Trimble, who succeeded Colonel Gilmer 
in March 19++, gave way to Col. Carter Burgess in 
November 19++. The latter in turn was succeeded by 
Col J. B. Moore, III, at the end of March 1945. 



64 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 




AIR VICE MARSHAL ROBB 

He was also given numerous special as- 
signments to co-ordinate the work of 
various SHAEF divisions. General Smith 
after the war described the COSSAC chief 
as his British alter ego, "a man I wouldn't 
willingly have dispensed with." 14 

A second deputy chief of staff (chief ad- 
ministrative officer), Lt. Gen. Sir Humfrey 
M. Gale, came to SHAEF from a similar 
position at AFHQat the strong insistence 
of General Eisenhower. When Field Mar- 
shal Brooke demurred at the shift, Smith 
pointed out that Eisenhower had always 
felt "he would be unwilling to undertake 
another large Allied Command without 
Gale's administrative assistance. . . . He 
has that irreplaceable quality of being able 
to handle British- American supply prob- 
lems with tact and judgment and he is 
almost as familiar with the American sys- 



tem of supply as with the British." General 
Gale found his position at SHAEF to be 
somewhat different from that at Allied 
Force Headquarters. In the Mediterra- 
nean he had also had responsibility for 
British troops behind the front. In the 
European theater, 21 Army Group con- 
trolled its own supply and the American 
units had their Headquarters, Communi- 
cations Zone. At SHAEF, therefore, he 




GENERAL GALE 

had less real control over supply and ad- 
ministration than at Allied Force Head- 
quarters. His duties consisted of co-ordi- 
nating the activities of G-l, G-4, and 
the supply elements of G-5. He also 
served as chairman of various high-level 
committees that dealt with matters of sup- 



14 Interv with Gen Smith, 13 May 47. 



THE NATURE OF SHAEF 



65 



ply. One of his chief tasks was to anticipate 
future bottlenecks and to study ways in 
which they might be avoided. 1 "' 

The third deputy, Air Vice Marshal 
James M. Robb, who became Deputy 
Chief of Staff (Air), had served at one time 
in the Mediterranean as General Eisen- 
hower's air adviser. Later he became 
commander of RAF North Africa and 
deputy to General Spaatz, commander of 
the Northwest African Air Forces. 1 " At 
SHAEF the air marshal co-ordinated all 
correspondence and planning of the vari- 
ous SHAEF divisions in regard to air 
activities. 

The selection of the chief deputies was 
followed in turn by the naming of the 



heads of the various divisions — a story 
which will be told in some detail elsewhere 
in this volume. 17 By mid-January most of 
the key positions of the headquarters had 
been filled and Supreme Headquarters 
was functioning. By mid-February Gen- 
eral Eisenhower had his formal directive 
and his command was officially under 
way. It is important now to examine what 
had already been done by SHAEF's pred- 
ecessors and what yet remained to be 
achieved before the offensive against 
northwest Europe could be launched. 

,: ' Inter v with Gen Gale, 27 Jan 47. . ■ 
1,1 Interv with Air Chief Marshal Sir James M. 
Robb, 3 Feb 47. 

17 Ch. IV, below, The Machinery of SHAEF. 



CHAPTER IV 



The Machinery of SHAEF 



Even before SHAEF had been formed, 
COSSAC had handed over the tactical 
planning of the cross-Channel attack to 
the Commander-in-Chief, 21 Army 
Group, the Allied Naval Commander-in- 
Chief, Expeditionary Force (ANCXF), 
and the Commander-in-Chief, Allied Ex- 
peditionary Air Force (AEAF). Later, the 
detailed planning of the ground force as- 
sault was given to the armies involved in 
the attack. Headquarters, ANCXF, and 
AEAF drew up detailed plans of their 
own. As a result SHAEF did not play a 
prominent role in the operational plan- 
ning for the initial stages of Overlord and 
may appear to the casual observer to have 
been almost completely divorced from 
control of the assault. An examination of 
the machinery of SHAEF will help to cor- 
rect this misconception. 

The Powers Reserved to SHAEF 

General Eisenhower, in appointing Gen- 
eral Montgomery to command U.S. and 
British ground.forces in the assault, gave 
him operational control of the forces to be 
used in the early days of the attack. The 
temporary nature of the arrangement was 
understood. The Supreme Commander, 
while delegating for an interval opera- 
tional control of Allied ground forces, did 
not lay aside his responsibility for making 
tactical decisions that involved major 
changes in the Overlord plan or the call- 



ing forward of additional troops. His inter- 
vention was also necessary to get increased 
air or naval support for the ground forces. 

In the administrative sphere, where sup- 
ply and personnel were concerned, the 
Supreme Commander retained a large 
number of duties. As the chief Allied head- 
quarters, SHAEF co-ordinated interserv- 
ice and inter- Allied administrative policy. 
This co-ordination extended to such mat- 
ters as policy on the hiring of labor, the 
purchase of supplies, welfare, health, dis- 
cipline and awards, prisoners of war, 
movement, and the construction of air- 
fields. It was the task of SHAEF to prepare 
outline administrative plans for future Al- 
lied operations, allocate scarce resources 
until shipped overseas, deal on national 
policy matters with non-U. S. and British 
powers, determine policy on POL (petrol, 
oil, and lubricants) matters, and make 
representations to the U.S. and British 
ministries and departments concerning 
policy and materiel requirements when 
the y influ enced the theater as a whole. 1 
\{Chart3)\ 

In the so-called political sphere the 
Supreme Commander and his staff were 
particularly busy. Few if any of these re- 
sponsibilities had been delegated to sub- 
ordinate commanders. Representing Great 



1 SHAEF Dir to Ramsay, Leigh- Mallory, and 
Montgomery, 10 Mar 44; see also SHAEF Dir to 
FUSAG, 10 Mar 44, SHAEF SGS 322.01 1/2 Dirs to 
Subordinate Comdrs. 



Chart 3 — Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, 6 June 1944 



NAVAL COMMANDER IN CHIEF 
Adm Sir Bertram H. Ramsey 



NAVAL CHIEF OF STAFF 
Rear Adro G. E. Creaty 
Capl M. J. Maniergh 



NAVAL STAFF 



SUPREME COMMANDER 

Gen Dwight D, Eisenhower 

DEPUTY SUPREME COMMANDER 

Air Ckief Mortal Sir Arthur W. Tedder 



POLITICAL OFFICERS 
Ambassador William Phillip 
Mr Chorle. i. P. Peak. 



CHIEF OF STAFF 
Ll Geo Walter B. Smith 
DEPUTY CHIEFS OF STAFF 
Ll Gtn Frederick E. Morgan 
Lt Gen Sir Hererre, M, Gale 
Air Vice Marshal Jam.. M. Rebb 



SECRETARY, GENERAL STAFF 
CI Ford Trimble 



EUROPEAN ALLIED CONTACT SECTION 
Lt Gen A. E. Gias.tt 



G-1 

Moj Gen Roy W. Bailei 
Br., T I N Bo.rill, 



G-3 

Moj G.» Hotold R. Bull 
Mai Gen j. f, M. Whileley 



Maj Gs 
Brif G« 



, K. W. D. Strong 

, Thomas j. B««» 



JOINT PLANNING GROUP 



ENGINEER DIVISION 
Mo, Gi> H. 8. W. Hugh.! 
8,i, Ger, »...•■» G Dunn 





C-4 




Moj G«n 


Robert W, Go 


•lord 


Moi Gc 


N C, D. Bn» 


john 



G-J 

Lt Gen A, E. Gras.lt 
Bris Gen J. C. Holmes 



AIR COMMANDER IN CHIEF 

Air Chief Marshal Sir T. L. L.i jh-Mallory 

DEPUTY AIR COMMANDER IN CHIEF 
Maj Gen Hoyr S. Vartdenberg 



SENIOR AIR STAFF OFFICER 
Air Vice Marshal H. E. P. Wisjlemorth 



ADJUTANT GENERAL 
Col Emi! C Bwhnlfe 



HEADQUARTERS COMMANDANT 
Co! Robert O. Brawn 
Moi H. j Rothw.ll 



SIGNAL DIVISION 
Moi Gen C H. H, Volliomy 
Bris Gen F, H Lanahon 



PUBLIC RELATIONS DIVISION 
B.i, Gen Thomo. J. Do* 



PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE 
DIVISION 
Brig Gen Robert A, McClute 



MEDICAL DIVISION 
Moi Gen Albert W. Kenn.r 
Brig E. A Sutton 



AIR DEFENSE DIVISION 
Moj Gen A. M. Cameron 




ARMY GROUP 



AID TASK FORCE 



_ Command 
ta-Ordmatn 



68 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Britain and the United States in relations 
with representatives of France, preparing 
for civil affairs administration after the 
liberation of occupied countries, and plan- 
ning for military government for con- 
quered Germany were all tasks which the 
Supreme Commander retained. Some- 
what allied to these activities were those 
relating to press relations, censorship, and 
psychological warfare — all matters which 
had to be carefully co-ordinated at the 
highest Allied headquarters. 

SHAEF also retained active control 
of long-range planning for the period after 
the establishment of the bridgehead and 
the drive into Germany. Before D Day, its 
staff had outlined plans and amassed con- 
siderable data relating to the advance into 
Germany and the crossing of the Rhine. 

The Operations Division 

The nerve center of SHAEF was the 
G-3 Division. Here planning and opera- 
tions were combined. The chief of this di- 
vision, Maj. Gen. Harold R. Bull, had 
been assigned to the operations branch of 
COSSAC in the fall of 1943 in preparation 
for his appointment to the SHAEF post. 
He had previously served as G-3 of the 
War Department, acted as special ob- 
server for the War Department in the 
Mediterranean theater in the summer of 
1943, and then commanded the III U.S. 
Corps. On 14 February he succeeded Maj. 
Gen. Charles A. West (Br.) as G-3 of 
SHAEF. West remained as deputy until 
May 1944 when he was replaced by Maj. 
Gen. J. F. M. Whiteley (Br.), deputy chief 
of staff at Allied Force Headquarters and 
briefly chief of intelligence of SHAEF. The 
two most important sections of G-3, plans 
and operations, had initially been united 
under Brig. Gen. Arthur S. Nevins, for- 



merly a member of the Torch planning 
staff, later briefly G-3 of Fifth Army, and 
subsequently General Alexander's opera- 
tions officer in the Sicilian campaign. Near 
the end of May 1944 the two sections were 
separated, but General Nevins continued 
to co-ordinate their work. Brigadier Ken- 
neth G. McLean, who had been chief 
Army planner at COSSAC from the be- 
ginning, headed the plans section. In 
March 1945, Maj. Gen. Lowell W. Rooks 
(U.S.) was added as deputy to General 
Bull. 

The planning section, designated Plan- 
ning Staff, SHAEF, 2 was set up in mid- 
March 1944 to co-ordinate planning for 
SHAEF operations. Members of the staff 
included representatives of the Allied Ex- 
peditionary Air Force, the Allied Naval 
Expeditionary Force, and the general and 
special staffs of SHAEF. They made esti- 
mates of the current situation, outlined 
plans for all future operations, and made 
detailed plans for the posthostilities period. 
Before D Day, this staff worked on plans 
for taking the Channel Islands, for opera- 
tions in northwest Europe in case Ger- 
many suddenly surrendered, for forcing 
the Seine and capturing the Seine ports in- 
cluding Paris, for action to be taken in 
Norway in case of a German surrender, 
and for a course of action to be followed 
after the capture of the lodgment area. 3 

The operations section prepared and is- 
sued operational directives and orders 
based on plans drawn up by the planning 
staff and approved by the chief of opera- 
tions and the chief of staff. It drew up and 
issued detailed standing operating proce- 
dures essential to the proper co-ordination 



2 Known briefly in early March as the Combined 
Planning Staff. 

1 Minutes of eight Planning Staff meetings held 
prior to D Day, Gen Nevins personal papers. 




GENERAL NEVINS 



BRIGADIER McLEAN 



70 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



of the various arms and services. It also 
planned projects to mislead the enemy as 
to Allied intentions. Special subsections 
dealt with the co-ordination of airborne 
operations, defense against chemical war- 
fare, and the arrangements for gathering 
meteorological information. 

The operations section also directed Re- 
sistance activities in France outside the 21 
Army Group sphere, co-operated with the 
Psychological Warfare Division in forma- 
tion of propaganda policy and co-ordi- 
nated its action with operations, provided 
G-3 operational contact with Allied mis- 
sions, and co-ordinated the preparation of 
communiques. It was also the duty of this 
section to aid in preparing combined situ- 
ation and intelligence reports, daily and 
weekly summaries, reports of progress on 
current studies, and liaison reports. 

An important activity of the operations 
section was that of maintaining the 
SHAEF War Room where information 
was drawn from the Allied Naval Expedi- 
tionary Force headquarters, the Allied Ex- 
peditionary Air Force, 21 Army Group, the 
U.S. strategical and tactical air forces, 
Bomber Command, the meteorological 
section, Special Force Headquarters, and 
the G-l, G-2, and G-4 Divisions. Daily 
and weekly reports summarized this in- 
formation. In the SHAEF War Room 
operations officers posted information on 
future air, ground, and naval plans, the 
Allied order of battle, including location 
and numbers of aircraft, the situation of 
current operations on the eastern and 
western fronts, meteorological forecasts, 
the enemy order of battle (including 
ground divisional strength, the enemy 
coastal defense system, and the location of 
major enemy air forces), and G-4 move- 
ments and plans." 

SHAEF G-3 maintained liaison with 21 




GENERAL STRONG. (Photograph 
taken in 1945.) 



Army Group, the Allied Expeditionary 
Air Force, the Allied Naval Expeditionary 
Force, and the Strategic Air Forces. Part 
of this task was handled by regular liaison 
staffs which remained at the headquarters 
in question. The greater part was carried 
on by personal visits, frequent telephone 
conversations, and participation in com- 
bined conferences. Officers of the G-3 Di- 
vision made a special effort to visit forward 
headquarters as frequently as possible. 
General Bull, who had served for a time in 
North Africa as an observer for the War 
Department and, later, for General Eisen- 
hower, took a special interest in this phase 

' SOP of Ops 'A' Sub-Section, I I May 44, and Ltr, 
Morgan to Under Secy of State, WO, relating to Ops 
'B' Sub-Section, 3 Jun 44, SHAEF C-3 322.01 Or- 
ganization and Personnel G-3. 



THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 



71 



of SHAEF's work. As the forces under 
General Eisenhower increased in the win- 
ter of 1944 and the spring of 1945, General 
Bull assumed increasingly the responsibil- 
ity for maintaining contact with army 
group commanders. The deputy G-3, 
General Whiteley, kept in close touch with 
Maj. Gen. Francis de Guingand, the 21 
Army Group chief of staff, and worked out 
with him personally many operational 
questions concerning General Montgom- 
ery's forces. 

Because of the command situation that 
existed before D Day, the Supreme Com- 
mander found himself relying on two 
sources of operational advice and informa- 
tion. When, as often occurred during the 
assault, he was called upon merely to give 
a nod of approval to a plan proposed by 
General Montgomery or General Bradley, 
he was dependent largely upon planning 
done by someone else's staff. In such mat- 
ters as directing Resistance operations, in- 
creasing airborne forces for the assault, 
planning for railway bombing, and other 
problems involving forces of different serv- 
ices and more than one nationality, he 
turned more frequently to his own staff. 

The Intelligence Division 

Before leaving the Mediterranean in 
December 1943, General Eisenhower indi- 
cated that he wanted Maj. Gen. Kenneth 
W. D. Strong (Br.), G-2 of Allied Force 
Headquarters, as his chief of intelligence 
at SHAEF. This officer had served as as- 
sistant military attache in Berlin shortly 
before the beginning of the war and later 
for more than a year as head of the Ger- 
man section of the War Office. Eisen- 
hower's request, coming on the heels of 
numerous other shifts from the Mediter- 
ranean theater, met opposition from the 



War Office. When initial appeals proved 
ineffective, General Whiteley was ap- 
pointed to the post. In May 1944 after fur- 
ther requests by Generals Eisenhower and 
Smith, the British agreed to the transfer of 
General Strong, and he became chief of in- 
telligence on 25 May 1944. 5 His deputy, 
Brig.. Gen. Thomas J. Betts (U.S.), had 
come to SHAEF some weeks earlier from 
the Mediterranean theater. 

SHAEF, of course, did not attempt to 
collect intelligence by interrogating pris- 
oners, nor did it send out air and ground 
reconnaissance patrols. For this type of in- 
formation it depended, like the army 
groups, on the armies and subordinate 
units. For spot information, it was as- 
sumed, the lower headquarters would 
have to depend on their own resources. 
Such information was collated at army 
headquarters and sent back to the army 
groups and to SHAEF. 

SHAEF G-2 received estimates and in- 
formation from the armies and the army 
groups, from Resistance groups, either di- 
rectly or indirectly, from reports of the Of- 
fice of Strategic Services and the Political 
Warfare Executive, from the estimates of 
the War and Navy Departments in Wash- 
ington, and from the Joint Intelligence 
Committee (London)." 

Shortly after its establishment, SHAEF 
took over much of the personnel and files 
of the Theater Intelligence Section (TIS) 
which had been set up by the British in 
1940. Initially British in make-up, this or- 
ganization added U.S. personnel in 1943. 

' General Whiteley, as already noted, became dep- 
uty chief of operations. 

6 JIC (London) consisted of representatives of the 
Foreign Office, Air Ministry, Admiralty, War Office, 
and Ministry of Economic Warfare. It farmed out 
various questions to the Theater Intelligence Section, 
the Interservice Intelligence Section, and other intel- 
ligence groups. The joint staff then undertook to de- 
termine the significance of the information. 



72 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



As a part of British Home Forces and later 
of COSSAC, the section conducted con- 
siderable research on Germany and 
enemy-occupied territory and collated re- 
ports on enemy movements and disposi- 
tions. It furnished a mass of topographical 
information, and detailed reports on 
enemy order of battle and the location of 
enemy guns and fortifications. Lt. Col. 
John Austin, a Magdalen don who had 
headed the order of battle section under 
the Theater Intelligence Section, set up a 
similar section under SHAEF. 

General Strong at the end of June 1944 
proposed that SHAEF establish a Joint In- 
telligence Committee (SHAEF) which 
would consist of one U.S. and one British 
representative from each service, a British 
or U.S. member to deal with economic 
questions, and, when necessary, a British 
and U.S. member to represent the Politi- 
cal Advisers of the Supreme Commander. 
Headed by the SHAEF chief of intelli- 
gence, this committee was to keep under 
constant review the military and political 
situation in the area for which the Supreme 
Commander was responsible. It was to be 
the sole producer of intelligence apprecia- 
tions for the Planning Staff, SHAEF, and 
to be the final authority on all intelligence 
matters for SHAEF. As long as SHAEF re- 
mained in the United Kingdom, the com- 
mittee was required to keep in close touch 
with the Joint Intelligence Committee 
(London) to maintain a full exchange of 
information. The system was adopted in 
July 1944 with General Smith's reluctant 
approval. The SHAEF chief of staff indi- 
cated that he lelt it tended to recognize the 
"command by committee" system which 
the Supreme Commander was trying to 
avoid. 7 

The varied intelligence which came to 
Supreme Headquarters was collected, as- 



sessed, and passed on to subordinate head- 
quarters in weekly intelligence summaries 
and periodic estimates. Part of the infor- 
mation sifted down to the lower headquar- 
ters either in the form of news summaries 
or often in the form of annexes appended 
to the regular reports. These summaries 
suffered somewhat from a time lag and by 
no means represented the information 
available at SHAEF at any given time. 8 
Certain intelligence that could not be is- 
sued generally for fear of endangering the 
sources naturally had to be omitted from 
the summaries. Thus, the Supreme Com- 
mander and the army groups depended 
for their most current and most complete 
information on personal briefings by their 
chiefs of intelligence or members of the in- 
telligence staffs. The army groups kept the 
SHAEF staff abreast of developments in 
their areas with nightly reports direct to 
Supreme Headquarters. 

Much of the work of SHAEF G-2, like 
that of the Operations Division, was car- 
ried on by personal contact between mem- 
bers of the SHAEF and army group staffs. 
The relationships between members of the 
G-2 staffs of SHAEF and the army groups 
were cordial. Unfortunately, the same 
thing could not always be said of relations 
between the army groups and the armies. 

General Strong organized his group 
along British lines. His chief deputy, Gen- 
eral Betts, had served for some years on the 
War Department G-2 staff and had at- 
tended the Combined Chiefs of Staff con- 
ferences at Washington, Quebec, and 
Cairo in 1943 as a G-2 representative. 

• Smith to Strong. 4 Jul 44. and Dir to JIC 
(SHAEF), 8 Jul 44, SHAEF SGS 322.01 G-2. Organi- 
zation and Personnel G-2 Div, SHAEF. 

* In a few cases, when an important change in ihe 
military situation occurred just after a report was is- 
sued, one or more additional pages were sent out with 
new information. 



THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 



73 



The operational intelligence chief, Briga- 
dier E.J. Foord (Br.) had served in the in- 
telligence section of the War Office and 
then as chief of the operational intelligence 
subsection of Allied Force Headquarters in 
the Mediterranean. 



COSSAC had intended initially to fol- 
low the British system of pntf ing both per- 
sonnel and supply activities under an 
administrative division with subsections 
devoted to these matters. When a decision 
was made near the end of 1943 to extend 
the U.S. system of organization through- 
out the headquarters, separate G-l and 
G-4 Divisions were established. That 
neither division ever had as much oper- 
ational control as the G-2 and G-3 Divi- 
sions was due chiefly to differences in per- 
sonnel and supply organizations in the 
British and U.S. armies which required 
entirely separate logistic arrangements for 
the two forces. Control of British troops 
and supplies for Overlord was vested in 
21 Army Group. Control of U.S. troops 
and supplies was given to Headquarters, 
ETOUSA, which General Eisenhower 
commanded as the senior U.S. com- 
mander in Europe. The actual task of sup- 
ply in the battle zone was handed over to 
a U.S. supply headquarters. Administra- 
tive control of British tactical air forces was 
placed under Air Chief Marshal Leigh- 
Mallory as long as his Headquarters, 
Allied Expeditionary Air Force, existed. 
Headquarters, USSTAF, retained admin- 
istrative control of U.S. units assigned to 
AEAF. 

General Barker, who had been deputy 
chief of COSSAC. became the chief of the 
G-l (Personnel) Division of SHAEF. His 
original deputy, Brigadier R. F. R. Becher 




GENERAL CRAWFORD 



(Br.), was replaced in May 1944 by 
Brigadier T.J. N. Bosville. The G-4 (Sup- 
ply) chief of SHAEF was Maj. Gen. 
Robert W. Crawford, who had served as 
Commanding General, Services of Supply, 
U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East, and 
later as chief of staff of the Services of Sup- 
ply organization in the United Kingdom. 
He was appointed deputy G-4 of 
COSSAC in November 1943 with the 
understanding that he would later ex- 
change places with Maj. Gen. N. C. D. 
Brownjohn (Br.) then the G-4 of that 
headquarters. This shift took place in Feb- 
ruary 1944. General Brownjohn remained 
as deputy G-4 until August 1944 when he 
was succeeded by Maj. Gen. CM. Smith 
(Br.). In March 1944 three special depu- 
ties were added to the G-4 Division to 
help determine priorities, allocate sup- 



74 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



plies, and assign space at railways, ports, 
airfields, and other facilities to the various 
services. 9 

Because of General Eisenhower's dual 
role as Supreme Commander and as U.S. 
theater commander, the organization of 
the supply services in the U.S. zone is sig- 
nificant to this study. To simplify U.S. 
administration, General Eisenhower in 
mid-January 1944 ordered the consolida- 
tion of Headquarters, ETOUSA, and 
Headquarters, Services of Supply. This 
enlarged headquarters inherited the name 
of ETOUSA, and was commanded by 
General Eisenhower with General Smith 
as its chief of staff. It was actually con- 
trolled by Lt. Gen. John C. H. Lee, deputy 
theater commander for supply and admin- 
istration, formerly the commanding gen- 
eral of the Services of Supply. General Lee 
was also slated to command Headquar- 
ters, Communications Zone, which was to 
be established on the Continent after the 
invasion to control supply of U.S. troops. 
General Eisenhower tended to rely on 
U.S. members of his SHAEF staff for ad- 
vice concerning most operational matters, 
and he used Headquarters, ETOUSA, 
for communication with the War Depart- 
ment on administrative matters and as an 
authorizing agency for all U.S. commands 
that operated under Supreme Headquar- 
ters. The exact responsibility of the G-1 
and G-4 at SHAEF and their counter- 
parts at U.S. supply headquarters was 
never thoroughly defined. While it was 
natural for the Supreme Commander to 
turn to the U.S. staff officers nearest at 
hand for advice on purely U.S. questions, 
the G-1 and G-4 at theater headquarters 
were more closely in touch with the War 
Department and had closer control of U.S. 
men and supplies coming to the United 
Kingdom and the Continent. Staff officers 




GENERAL LEE 

at SHAEF were never completely success- 
ful in their efforts to control supply and 
personnel policy relating solely to U.S. 
forces. On matters involving allocation of 
supplies and men among the Allied forces 
and on certain problems pertaining to 
the entire British, French, and U.S. force, 
they played a more important role. 10 



9 These officers were: Maj. Gen. Charles S. Napier 
(Br.) and Col. Howard A. Malin (U.S.) for movement 
and transportation, and Brigadier Douglas H. Bond 
(Br.) for petroleum and fuel. In late May Col. Walter 
C. Pew (U.S.) was added as deputy G-4 for petroleum 
and fuel, and Col. Wilbur S. Elliott (U.S.) replaced 
Colonel Malin. In December 1944, Brig. Gen. John A. 
Appleton (U.S.) became Director General, Military 
Railways. Col. (later Brig. Gen.) E. K. Clark (U.S.) 
was added as deputy G-4 in January 1945, and Brig. 
Gen. Theron D. Weaver (U.S.) became chief of the 
Petroleum Branch in February 1945. 

10 The author has relied principally for these de- 
tails on [Robert W. Coakley] Organization and Com- 
mand in the European Theater of Operations, Pt. II 



THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 



75 



Civil Affairs 

The organization of SHAEF's Civil 
Affairs Division (G-5) requires more de- 
tailed study than that of the other general 
staff divisions. Since it was of fairly recent 
origin, the COSSAC and SHAEF plan- 
ners had to work out new procedures and 
systems of operating. Unlike the other gen- 
eral staff divisions, G-5 could not be set up 
simply by copying long-established U.S. 
or British practices. Instead, it was neces- 
sary to draw on fairly recent experiences 
of the Allies in the Mediterranean, and 
these did not conform exactly to the needs 
of a Supreme Headquarters in the Euro- 
pean theater. A second factor making for 
difficulty arose from differences of opinion 
between the British and U.S. Chiefs of 
Staff, between the U.S. Chiefs of Staff and 
the State Department, between the 
COSSAC and the AFHQ, elements of 
SHAEF, and between individuals, as to 
theory of civil affairs and methods of con- 
trol. Again, because of the political angles 
involved, SHAEF from the beginning ex- 
ercised closer control of civil affairs oper- 
ations than of other operations. Finally, 
the Supreme Commander and his chief of 
staff had to intervene more directly in the 
final settlement of the civil affairs organ- 
ization than they did in the case of the 
other divisions. 

Differences Between Military Government 
and Civil Affairs 

At the beginning of World War II, 
there was no clear-cut distinction between 
military government and the administra- 
tion of civil affairs, both of which the G-5 



of The Administrative and Logistical History of the 
ETO, Hist Div USFET, 1946, MS, OCMH files. See 
also Ruppenthal, Logistical Support of the Armies, 



division of SHAEF had to deal with. It 
was known that military government re- 
ferred to the authority established in occu- 
pied territory of the enemy and that it was 
intended largely to preserve order in zones 
in enemy areas through which the victori- 
ous armies were passing. The term was ap- 
plied more often, of course, to the authority 
that was established in a defeated country 
after the conclusion of an armistice. In 
World War I, the practice had been to 
continue existing local governments in 
power with military supervision and with 
some safeguards against disobedience of 
the orders issued by the occupying power. 
Attempts were made to restore the previ- 
ous economic and social framework as 
soon as possible in order to reduce the re- 
sponsibilities of military units for feeding 
the population and running the govern- 
ment. 

In World War II an entirely different 
situation existed. In Italian-held territory 
in the Mediterranean, and in German ter- 
ritory on the Continent, the Allies under- 
took to eliminate the former Fascist and 
Nazi officeholders, to root out the political 
theories which Mussolini and Hitler had 
put into the legal systems of the two coun- 
tries, to change Fascist- and Nazi-inspired 
economic regulations — in short, to effect a 
political revolution under Allied auspices. 
Part of this task was handed over to the 
military commanders who first set foot on 
enemy territory. They soon discovered 
that former views on the subject were not 
suited to the new concept of military gov- 
ernment, and they found, in the early days 
at least, that they lacked officers with the 
technical knowledge to assume the tasks of 
mayors,- directors of railways, directors of 
waterworks, directors of power plants, and 
dozens of other key jobs which were for- 
merly performed by the party faithful who 



76 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



now under Allied policy had to be ruth- 
lessly weeded out. Under World War I con- 
ditions, it was possible for a commander 
to restore the former officials, under 
proper military supervision, and let them 
govern as before. The new system required 
the conquering armies to establish new 
city and district administrations. 

Civil affairs had also changed since 
World War I. It had become clear in that 
earlier conflict that "total war," which 
choked essential highways with great 
masses of dispossessed people, required 
commanders to restore some semblance of 
civil authority if military operations were 
to be continued. In the 1914-18 period, 
the British and U.S. armies had been able 
to leave this problem largely to the French 
Government and Army, which at most 
needed only some supplies and transport 
to restore civil administration. In prepar- 
ing for the invasion of Europe through 
France in the spring of 1944, SHAEF 
realized that the French civil administra- 
tion that would be found had been either 
under the control of German military 
authority or under Vichy. In either case, 
it seemed likely that the existing govern- 
ment would have to undergo considerable 
change. Further, the greater damage 
caused by the bombardments of World 
War II meant that the liberating armies 
would have to support the local popula- 
tions or furnish transport to a far greater 
degree than they had before. Worse still, 
they could not expect the French forces, 
which were themselves being supplied 
from Allied sources, to take on this respon- 
sibility. Inasmuch as hungry civilians, 
however sympathetic to the Allies, were 
likely to become dangerous if left unfed, 
the Allied commanders, as a matter of 
necessity, had to engage in widespread 
activities in the realm of civil affairs. Mili- 



tary commanders were not always pleased 
at having to turn their attention from the 
task of winning battles to the business of 
feeding people and of making electric 
plants and waterworks function again. 
They were frequently even less willing to 
have groups of officers from higher head- 
quarters carry out civil affairs activities in 
the forward zone. As a result, command 
channels and command responsibility for 
civil affairs became points of contention 
among the various headquarters. 

Developing a System of Allied Control 

General Morgan, who has described the 
task of setting up a civil affairs organiza- 
tion for SHAEF as "the most vexatious 
and least satisfactory" of COSSAC's many 
tasks, attempted as early as July 1943 to 
establish a civil affairs branch and to draw 
up a set of guiding principles for civil 
affairs planning. Almost immediately he 
was caught in a debate between the British 
and U.S. Chiefs of Staff over whether the 
control of civil affairs should be centered 
in London or Washington, and in a 
COSSAC-versus-AFHQ_ argument over 
the nature of civil affairs command in the 
field. There is little wonder that in his de- 
scription of these discussions, General 
Morgan recalls the remark of a member of 
his staff that "there were plenty of affairs, 
but the difficulty was to keep them civil." 11 

The British had a variety of reasons for 
attempting to centralize civil affairs con- 
trol in London. Not only had they had 
considerable experience with governing 
occupied countries throughout modern 
history, but they had taken up the respon- 
sibility of military government in Italian 
and African possessions as early as 1940- 

11 Morgan, Overture to Overlord, pp. 227-28. 



THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 



77 



41. Before the United States entered the 
war, the British had established proce- 
dures and policy for military government. 
In June 1942, they formed an Administra- 
tion of Territories (Europe) Committee 
under Sir Frederick Bovenschen, Perma- 
nent Under Secretary of State for War, to 
co-ordinate planning for military govern- 
ment. The commander of United States 
Forces in Europe was invited to send ob- 
servers to meetings of the committee, ap- 
parently in the hope of making it the com- 
bined agency for determining Allied civil 
affairs policy. 

The British were in a position to say 
that they had a going concern in London 
and were prepared to lay down military 
government policy. It is possible that they 
desired to keep this control in London, not 
only because they felt themselves in a bet- 
ter position to handle these matters, but 
because they believed that a London com- 
mittee could act more quickly on Euro- 
pean matters and that decisions affect ing 
British interests would be more satisfac- 
torily settled. Parliament and Congress 
had expressed some dissatisfaction over 
U.S. dealings with Darlan in North 
Africa, and there were indications that 
Roosevelt and Churchill did not see eye to 
eye on the question of colonies. The British 
naturally desired to have firm control over 
any of their former colonies which might 
be recovered by Allied forces. 

The President wanted to make sure that 
U.S. forces were not used merely to restore 
colonies or to carry out a policy in military 
government laid down by another power. 
The U.S. Chiefs of Staff were also of the 
opinion that over-all control of military 
government could best be handled from 
Washington. In July 1943, they and the 
British Chiefs of Staff agreed to estab- 
lish a Combined Civil Affairs Committee 



(CCAC) in Washington to control civil af- 
fairs and military government policy for 
all theaters. The charter of the committee 
gave assurances that, if British or Domin- 
ion territory were recovered from the ene- 
my, the nations concerned could submit 
to the Combined Chiefs of Staff an out- 
line of policies for use in the civil affairs 
administration of such possessions. The 
Combined Chiefs of Staff, in turn, were to 
consult the force commander charged with 
taking and holding such territory and, on 
his recommendation, to accept those pro- 
posals which would not interfere with the 
military purpose of the operation. 12 

Establishment of the committee in 
Washington did not settle the problem of 
control. The reasons for continued debate 
have been well stated by General Morgan: 

If territory was to be liberated or con- 
quered by combined forces, then obviously 
the reinstatement of the life of those terri- 
tories must similarly be undertaken by com- 
bined means. But the British had been at this 
liberation and conquest business already for 
some years, and they had set up for them- 
selves an organization to see to this thing. To 
them it seemed a possibly unnecessary com- 
plication to duplicate the British effort in this 
respect over in the United States of America. 
It appeared to them that there were two 
alternatives: one could either reinforce the 
British setup to give it combined status, or 
one could regard the British setup as it stood 
as the British contribution towards the com- 
birfed effect desired with an equivalent 
United States outfit in Washington. 13 

The British attempted to pursue the first 
of these alternatives by holding that at- 
tendance of U.S. observers at meetings of 
the Administration of Territories (Europe) 



12 Details on early developments of the British or- 
ganization are given in Historical Notes, SHAEF G-5 
file. Charter CCAC, CCS 190/6/D, 15 Jul 43, ABC 
014 (11-27-42), Sec 1. 

13 Morgan, Overture to Overlord, pp. 231-32. 



78 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Committee constituted combined action 
on civil affairs and military government 
matters. When the U.S. representatives 
rejected this view, the British declined for 
a number of weeks to deal with the Com- 
bined Civil Affairs Committee in Wash- 
ington. The net effect of this impasse, 
according to Maj. Gen. John H. Hilldring, 
chief of the Civil Affairs Division of the 
War Department, was to deprive the Su- 
preme Commander for three months of 
any guidance on military government and 
civil affairs. 14 

The Combined Chiefs of Staff resolved 
the problem at the end of January 1944 by 
establishing the London Sub-Committee 
of the Combined Civil Affairs Committee. 
This body was empowered to advise the 
Supreme Commanders of Europe and the 
Mediterranean, solve the civil affairs prob- 
lems which did not justify reference to the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff, make recom- 
mendations on problems referred to it by 
the CCAC in Washington, and receive 
from the British Government its views in 
regard to British or Dominion territory 
outside the Pacific which might be re- 
covered from the enemy. The Administra- 
tion of Territories (Europe) Committee 
was abolished. 15 Even after this action, 
the War Department remained watchful 
lest the British try to enlarge the powers of 
the European Advisory Commission, or- 
ganized by Britain, the United States, and 
the USSR in London in late 1943 to draw 
up surrender terms for Germany and Axis 
satellites and to consider such other ques- 
tions on liberation of Allied countries as 
might be submitted by the three govern- 
ments. 16 

An illustration of the delays which fol- 
lowed these debates over jurisdiction may 
be found in the efforts of the United States 



and Great Britain to conclude a civil 
affairs agreement with the Norwegian 
Government -in-exile. Allied negotiations 
to get an agreement with Norway cover- 
ing such matters as the restoration of civil 
authority, the requisitioning of supplies, 
and the hiring of labor were begun as 
early as May 1943 by the Administration 
of Territories (Europe) Committee. The 
Foreign Office aided in preparing the 
necessary documents, but negotiations 
were kept on a strictly military level. The 
British authorities, wishing to avoid delays 
which they feared would follow submis- 
sion of the agreement to the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff and the Combined Civil 
Affairs Committee, in July 1943 sent it to 
General Devers on the chance that he 
could get direct approval from the U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff. Their hope proved un- 
founded, although General Devers 
promptly gave his assent to the document 
and proposed that with some modifica- 
tions it become a model for similar agree- 
ments in the future. The U.S. Chiefs of 
Staff, in order to avoid any precedent 
which would recognize the authority of 
the Administration of Territories (Europe) 
Committee to act on civil affairs matters 



14 General Hilldring's opposite number in the Brit- 
ish War Office was Maj. Gen. S. W. Kirby, head of 
the Civil Affairs Directorate in Great Britain. 

15 Ltr, Barker to Hilldring, 23 Nov 43; Bendetsen 
to Hilldring, 15 Nov 43; James C. Dunn to William 
Phillips, 4 Dec 43. All in CAD 370.21 COSSAC. Mc- 
Cloy to Winant, 3580, 4 Jan 44; Hilldring to Mc- 
Sherry, 53, 29 Jan 44. Both in CAD 334 CCAC. Secy 
War to Commanding Gens, 8 Feb 44, (text of revised 
charter of CCAC, 29 Jan 44), SHAEF G-5 23-27.02; 
Memo for Record, 19 Jan 44, COS (44), 142d Mtg 
(O), 28 Jan 44, ABC 014, Sec 2; Morgan, Overture to 
Overlord, pp. 231-32. 

16 This action had been decided on at the Moscow 
Conference in October 1943, but formal action was 
not taken until near the end of the war. 



THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 



79 



for the Allies, asked that both the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff and the Combined 
Civil Affairs Committee deal with the 
matter. An attempt was also made to get 
reactions of the State Deparment, but a 
request for its opinion brought merely the 
reply of "no comment." Accepting this as 
a negative form of approval, the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff proceeded with a dis- 
cussion of the final draft. After some delay, 
which Ambassador William Phillips 
blamed more on questions of prestige than 
on details of the document, the British and 
U.S. Chiefs of Staff also agreed near the 
end of January 1944 to proceed with Bel- 
gium and the Netherlands on the basis of 
the Norwegian draft. 17 

Once the Combined Chiefs of Staff had 
agreed on the general form of the docu- 
ments, the British and U.S. Governments 
proceeded to conclude separate accords 
with the occupied countries. The U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff in January 1944 maintained 
that the State Department would have to 
conclude agreements with these countries 
in order to make them binding. The State 
Department, as a matter of fact, already 
had under consideration draft agreements 
with Norway and the Netherlands. Secre- 
tary of State Cordell Hull held that since 
these were for military purposes they 
should be entered into directly between 
the Commander in Chief, U.S. Forces in 
Europe, and the countries concerned. At 
the end of February, the U.S. Chiefs of 
Staff instructed General Eisenhower to 
conclude a civil affairs agreement on 
behalf of the United States with Norway. 
After a delay to permit the USSR to con- 
clude a similar agreement with Norway, 
separate accords were signed with Norway 
on 16 May 1944 by representatives of the 
United States, Great Britain, and the 



USSR. Later, similar documents were 
drawn up for the other occupied coun- 
tries. 18 

Development of Civil Affairs Machinery 
at COSSAC and SHAEF 

The development of civil affairs ma- 
chinery for COSSAC and SHAEF was as 
complicated as the efforts, mentioned 
earlier, to establish Allied control of civil 
affairs. Initially, there had been little dif- 
ficulty. The Prime Minister and the Presi- 
dent had answered General Morgan's 
request for guidance on civil affairs and 
military government by declaring at Que- 
bec on 22 August 1943 that their govern- 
ments would assume responsibility for the 
administration of territory conquered by 
their forces. In liberated territories, the 
British and U.S. forces were to exercise 
military authority until the enemy's de- 
feat, but would agree to the maintenance 



17 Memo, Col John C. Blizzard for Maj Gen 
Thomas T. Handy, 1 Jul 43; Notes on JCS, 95th Mtg, 
6 Jul 43; JCS 96th Mtg, 13 Jul 43; CCS 102d Mtg, 16 
Jul 43; Memo for record, 26 Aug 43; Draft agreement, 
CCS 274/4, 4 Oct 43; CCS 122d Mtg, 8 Oct 43; 
Memo, Col Frank N. Roberts for Gen Handy, 5 Oct 
43; CCS 122d and 123d Mtgs, 8 and 15 Oct 43; For- 
rest B. Royal to Comdr Coleridge, 19 Oct 43; Memo, 
Representatives of Br COS, CCS 445, 22 Dec 43; CCS 
142d Mtg, 21 Jan 44. All in ABC 014 Norway (4 Jul 
43), Sec 1. Barker to Phillips, 22 Dec 43, with note by 
Phillips on 23 Dec 43; Cbl 2 1, CCS to Eisenhower, 23 
Jan 44. Both in SHAEF SGS 14. 1 Norway, Civil Af- 
fairs Dir for Norway. 

18 Handy to CAD, 5 Jan 44; Hilldring to Handy, 10 
Jan 44; Handy to CAD, 16 Jan 44; Leahy to Secy 
State, JCS 398/2, 21 Jan 44; Hull to Leahy, JCS 
398/3, 25 Jan 44; Rpt, Hilldring to JCS, 12 Jan 44. 
All in ABC 014 Norway. JCS to Eisenhower, 10 Feb 
44; State Dept Rad Bull 118, 16 May 44. Both in 
SHAEF SGS 014.1 Norway, Civil Affairs Dir for Nor- 
way. JCS to Eisenhower, 24 Feb 44; SHAEF to 
AGWAR, S-50493, 19 Apr 44; AGWAR to SHAEF, 
W-30279, 30 Apr 44. All in SHAEF SGS 014.1 Neth- 
erlands, Civil Affairs Dir for Netherlands. 



80 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



of law and order by the liberated peoples 
with necessary aid from the United States 
and Great Britain. 19 

Meanwhile, the Combined Civil Affairs 
Committee on 18 August 1943 had de- 
cided that the Allied commanders in chief 
should plan and handle civil affairs on the 
military level under a directive of the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff. General Mor- 
gan, therefore, proceeded in early Septem- 
ber to select a civil affairs staff. Maj. Gen. 
Sir Roger Lumley, former governor of 
Bombay, was appointed senior British civil 
affairs officer for COSSAC, with Brig. 
Gen. Cornelius E. Ryan, chief of the 
ETOUSA civil affairs section, as his U.S. 
opposite number. Shortly afterward, Gen- 
eral Ryan was chosen to organize the civil 
affairs section of 1st U.S. Army Group and 
was replaced on the COSSAC staff by Col. 
Karl R. Bendetsen. With the shift of Gen- 
eral Ryan, the civil affairs section of 
ETOUSA was abolished and its planning 
functions were given to COSSAC and 1st 
U.S. Army Group. 20 

In developing the civil affairs branch at 
COSSAC, General Morgan proceeded on 
the theory that the civil affairs organiza- 
tion in the field should insure that refugees 
not interfere with Allied operations, that 
it should relieve the Supreme Commander 
of anxiety over events behind his lines, and 
that it should guarantee that liberated or 
captured resources of military value would 
be placed at the disposal of the Allied 
forces. This was sound doctrine on which 
to build, but unfortunately, when it came 
to establishing machinery for carrying it 
out, the COSSAC chief found himself at a 
loss. The problem has been succinctly de- 
scribed by General Morgan as follows: 

Starting from a basis of complete ignorance 
and confronted with this agglomeration of 



confusing evidence, it is little wonder that 
COSSAC set off entirely on the wrong foot as 
regards its Civil Affairs planning. Round a 
small central section to study the question 
generally were formed "country sections" to 
study the problems of France, Belgium, Hol- 
land, and Norway on the broad assumption 
that for each of these countries would be 
needed something of the nature of the AMG 
[Allied Military Government] organisation 
for Italy. 

COSSAC planners in the fall of 1943 
soon disagreed over the question of how far 
the system of civil affairs and military 
government used in Sicily and Italy should 
be copied. Broadly speaking, the Allies 
had set up a system of military govern- 
ment which was to a great extent inde- 
pendent of the normal military structure. 
A chief civil affairs officer maintained a di- 
rect line of command through his regional 
civil affairs officers to provincial and local 
administrators. When a similar system was 
proposed by COSSAC planners, it was at- 
tacked by a group of civil affairs officers, 
led by Colonel Bendetsen, who opposed a 
system so largely independent of the mili- 
tary chain of command, and held that the 
principles designed to apply to conquered 
territory were unsuitable for liberated 
countries. 22 What might be called anti- 



19 Morgan to Under Secretary of State for War, 21 
Jul 43, SHAEF G-5 Gen File 3510 Civil Agencies- 
Voluntary Association; CCS 320, 20 Aug 43, Quad- 
rant Conf Min; Copy of Roosevelt-Churchill agree- 
ment at Quebec, 22 Aug 43, SHAEF G-5 ping file 
27.01. 

20 Hilldring to Hammond, 19 Aug 43; Mtg at Nor- 
folk House, 1 Sep 43; Memo, Ryan to Hilldring, 5 Sep 
43; Morgan to Hilldring, 21 Oct 43; Bendetsen to 
Barker, 20 Oct 43. All in CAD 370.21 COSSAC. 
ETOUSA GO 88, 26 Nov 43; ETOUSA Memo 90, 2 
Dec 43. Both in ETOUSA files. 

21 Morgan, Overture to Overlord, pp. 227-29. 

22 Details of the military government system in 
North Africa, Sicily, and Italy are contained in Lt. 
Robert W. Komer, Civil Affairs in the Mediterranean 



THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 



81 



Mediterranean views were contained in 
the COSSAC handbook on civil affairs 
which was issued on 13 December 1943. 
By it military commanders were made re- 
sponsible for civil affairs operations, which 
were to be handled through regular 
channels of command, 23 

The handbook was criticized almost im- 
mediately by Brig. Gen. Frank J. 
McSherry, formerly deputy civil affairs 
oificer in Sicily and chief of Headquarters, 
Allied Military Government for Italy out- 
side Naples and the Army Zone. McSherry 
had been assigned to the COSSAC Civil 
Affairs Branch in mid-December 1943. 
With the aid of Lt. Col. William Chanler 
of the Civil Affairs Division, War Depart- 
ment, he argued in early January 1944 for 
a return to a system more like that used in 
the Mediterranean theater. The COSSAC 
Civil Affairs Branch brushed these efforts 
aside with the statement that it had 
"abandoned with finality the concept ap- 
plied elsewhere which undertakes to exe- 
cute civil affairs operations through a sep- 
arate channel either parallel to or diver- 
gent from the chain of command." Gen- 
eral Smith, who had now arrived on the 
scene from the Mediterranean, countered 
this statement with a reminder that since 
he came from an area where the concept 
was applied, and was in large measure re- 
sponsible for it, he would have to have fur- 
ther evidence before abandoning it. 24 

In the next two months, a fight was 
waged over the concept of civil affairs to be 
adopted and the real control of the pro- 
gram. The G-5 Division of SHAEF under- 

Theater, Hist Sec, MTOUSA, 1946, MS, OCMH 
files. Barker to Hilldring, 23 Nov 43; Ltrs, Bendetsen 
to Hilldring, 20, 21, 27, 31 Oct and 6, 10, and 15 Nov 
43. All in GAD 370.21 COSSAC, Sec 1. See also Al- 
bert K. Weinberg, Soldiers Become Governors, a vol- 
ume in preparation for this series. 



went two major changes in that time. On 
15 February General Lumley, who had 
been a supporter of Colonel Bendetsen, be- 
came sole head of the division, and Brig. 
Gen. Julius C. Holmes, who had recently 
been brought up from the Civil Affairs 
Branch at Allied Force Headquarters, was 
appointed deputy. Colonel Bendetsen was 
transferred to another headquarters. The 
country sections, which had been elimi- 
nated in the shifts of the fall of 1943, were 
replaced, and General McSherry, Deputy 
Civil Affairs Officer, was made responsible 
for reorganizing these sections, preparing 
detailed civil affairs plans, and training 
personnel. 25 In April the G-5 Division un- 
derwent its second reorganization in fulfill- 
ment of a decision reached in early Janu- 
ary 1944. General Smith had indicated to 
the War Department at that time that 
someone with more experience and rank 
than General Lumley's or Colonel Bendet- 
sen's should be appointed. He had pro- 
posed a U.S. officer for the position, sug- 
gesting among others Maj. Gen. Lucius D. 
Clay, but withdrew the proposal when 
General Eisenhower decided that it was 
preferable to have a British officer in 
charge of civil affairs in order to avoid 

23 Handbook, Standard Policy and Procedure for 
Combined Civil Affairs Operations in Northwest Eu- 
rope, COSSAC, 13 Dec 43, SHAEF SGS 014.1 Civil 
Affairs in Northwest Europe. (It should be noted that 
there is also a two-volume file with virtually the same 
designation: SHAEF SGS 014.1 Civil Affairs in 
Northwest Europe, Vols, I and II.) 

" Memo, McSherry for Lumley, 30 Jan 44, SHAEF 
G-5 Ping File 27.01. Memo, Chanler for CofS, 
SHAEF, 5 Feb 44; Memo, McSherry for CofSl 
SHAEF, 7 Feb 44; Memo, Smith for Lumley, 8 Feb 
44. All in SHAEF SGS 014. 1 Civil Affairs in North- 
west Europe. Unsigned, undated memo, apparently in 
answer to McSherry memo of 30 Jan 44, SHAEF G-5 
Ping File 15.01. 

26 SHAEF Stf Memo 2, 15 Feb 44, SHAEF AG 
files; McSherry to Hilldring, 1 1 Mar 44, CAD 370.21 
COSSAC. 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



criticism of SHAEF policy in areas where 
the British had long-established interests. 26 
The Supreme Commander, after consulta- 
tion with British authorities, on 22 April 
appointed Lt. Gen. A. E. Grasett, the chief 
of SHAEF's European Allied Contact Sec- 
tion, to head the G-5 Division.- 7 General 
Holmes became his deputy. In December 
1944 he was succeeded by General 
McSherry. 

These changes in organization by no 
means indicated that the Mediterranean 
concepts of civil affairs were to prevail en- 
tirely in SHAEF. Generals Holmes and 
McSherry asked in March 1944 that the 
fundamental concept of the COSSAC 
handbook, which placed the full civil af- 
fairs burden on tactical commanders, be 
abandoned and the handbook revised ac- 
cordingly. General Holmes went further 
and asked that the deputy civil affairs of- 
ficer, in addition to carrying on his duties 
for planning and training, be directed to 
supervise and direct civil affairs activities 
under SHAEF and issue technical instruc- 
tions to civil affairs staffs at lower echelons. 
These suggestions were strongly opposed 
by General Lumley and by Brigadier T. 
Robbins, Chief of Civil Affairs, 21 Army 
Group. After some debate SHAEF de- 
cided to amend but not drop.the hand- 
book. It was also accepted that the civil 
affairs staffs should be more closely inte- 
grated with existing staffs throughout the 
command system, and that SHAEF 
should avoid establishment of a civil af- 
fairs headquarters which was unrelated to 
military headquarters. as 

General Grasett had indicated before 
the formal announcement of his appoint- 
ment that he accepted some of the views of 
his predecessor on the organization of civil 
affairs. He believed that field commanders 
should be directly responsible for civil af- 
fairs operations, and that their policy 



GENERAL GRASETT 

should be guided by an amended Hand- 
book on Standard Policy and Procedure 
for Civil Affairs. On 30 April, he reorgan- 
ized part of the G-5 Division, abolishing 
the post of deputy civil affairs officer and 
transferring General McSherry to the post 
of chief of operations. The country sections 
were now placed directly under the chief 

16 It is possible thai a desire to respect similar Brit- 
ish interests may have prompted General Smith to 
tell General Holmes when the revision of the hand- 
book was proposed that "there were substantial po- 
litical reasons why the document cannot be scrapped. 
. . Ltr, Holmes to Hilldring, 16 Mar 44, CAD 
370.21 COSSAC. 

" Smith to Hilldring, W-950Q, 7 Jan 44, CAD 
COSSAC 370.21. Memo, Hilldring for Marshall, I 
Apr 44, CAD 210.31. SHAEF CO 9, 22 Apr 44, 
SHAEF SGS G-5 Ping File 15.01. 

a8 Holmes to CofS, SHAEF, 9 Mar 44; Gale to 
CofS, SHAEF, 13 Mar 44; Smith to Lumley, 14 Mar 
44. All in SHAEF SGS 322.01 Organization and Per- 
sonnel G-5 Div, I. Robbins to CofS, SHAEF, 1 1 Mar 
44, SHAEF SGS 014.1 Civil Affairs in Northwest Eu- 
rope; McSherry to Hilldring, 1 1 Mar 44, CAD 370.21 
COSSAC. 



THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 



83 



of the G-5 Division, and any hint of a pos- 
sible echelon between SHAEF and the 
army groups in the field was ended. Gen- 
eral Grasett announced that the sections 
for France, Norway, Denmark, and Bel- 
gium-Luxembourg would ultimately be- 
come the civil affairs sections of SHAEF 
missions sent to those countries, and that 
the German section would provide the 
nucleus of military government in enemy 
territory. He also indicated that in the first 
phase of operations 21 Army Group, work- 
ing through its civil affairs staff, would be 
responsible for all civil affairs activities in 
France. On the activation of a U.S. army 
group on the Continent, the SHAEF G-5 
was to assume direct responsibility for co- 
ordinating civil affairs operations in the 
field. While all branches of SHAEF would 
have normal staff responsibility for such 
operations, the small French section of the 
operations branch of G-5 was charged 
with general supervision and co-ordination 
of activities pertaining to France. 29 

Some of the views of the former Medi- 
terranean civil affairs officers were incor- 
porated in the revised handbook issued 
by SHAEF on 1 May 1944. The princi- 
pal amendments were those specifying 
SHAEF's control over civil affairs activi- 
ties in the field. To the declaration in the 
original version that tactical commanders 
were responsible for civil affairs operations 
in their area, there was added the phrase, 
"in accordance with the policies laid down 
by the Supreme Commander." To the ini- 
tial statement that normal command 
channels would be followed was added: 
"with direct communications between 
Civil Affairs staffs of Commands on mat- 
ters peculiar to Civil Affairs." The scope of 
such activities was broadened to apply "to 
the areas affected by military operations." 
Thus it was possible, if necessary, to apply 
civil affairs jurisdiction to the whole of a 



country even thougii Allied forces might 
be in only a part of it. The objective of 
civil affairs operations was restated as an 
effort to insure "that conditions exist 
among the civilian population which will 
not interfere with operations against the 
enemy, but will promote these opera- 
tions." Stricken out was the statement that 
the commander's responsibility did not 
embrace the rehabilitation of a country or 
its industries. Both handbooks agreed that 
relief, except as otherwise directed, would 
be limited to that required by military 
necessity, and that civil affairs operations 
in liberated would continue only un- 
til the situation permitted the Allied na- 
tional authority concerned to assume con- 
trol. Finally, the revised handbook pro- 
vided for consistency of interpretation and 
application of policies in each of the coun- 
tries by requiring that country manuals be 
issued for the use of tactical commanders. 30 

SHAEF G-5 spent the remaining days 
before the invasion on improving the civil 
affairs organization. The training of civil 
affairs officers sent from the United States 
was emphasized. All new arrivals were in- 
terviewed at the European Civil Affairs 
Training Center, which had been estab- 
lished in December 1943 at Shrivenham 
under Col. Cuthbert P. Stearns, and an ef- 
fort was made to train them in handling 
specific problems in the cities to which 
they were to be assigned. 

General Eisenhower expressed his 
views as to the importance of the civil af- 
fairs officers in an address shortly before D 
Day. Saying that they were "as modern as 



29 Memo, Grasett for CofS, SHAEF, 19 Apr 44; 
SHAEF Stf Memo 43, 30 Apr 44. Both in SHAEF G- 
5 ping file 15.01. 

80 SHAEF handbook, Standard Policy and Proce- 
dure for Combined Civil Affairs Operations in North- 
west Europe, 13 Dec 43, and as revised, 1 May 44. 
Original handbook in SHAEF SGS Civil Affairs in 
Northwest Europe 014, 1 ; revision in OCMH. 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 




GENERAL DAVIS 



radar and just as important to the com- 
mand," he declared that the army would 
fail if they did not do their job of organiz- 
ing the rear areas as quickly as possible. 
Repeating his often-stated view that the 
task of soldiers was to defeat the enemy, he 
rejected the idea that the purpose of civil 
affairs was to serve any nationalistic aim 
and asked them to remember that "you 
are not politicians or anything else but sol- 
diers." Their organization, he added, had 
been gradually developed as a result of ex- 
perience, and had been accepted because 
of military necessity. Their task,, therefore, 
although humanitarian in resufts, was "to 
help us win the war." 31 

Publicity and Psychological Warfare 

A Publicity and Psychological Warfare 
Division (G-6) under Brig. Gen. Robert 



A. McClure, who headed a similar divi- 
sion at Allied Force Headquarters, was 
formally activated by SHAEF on 14 Feb- 
ruary 1944 to co-ordinate all Allied press 
and psychological warfare agencies op- 
erating in northwest Europe. This general 
staff division proved to be short lived, since 
it was divided on 1 3 April into two special 
staff divisions: Psychological Warfare un- 
der General McClure, and Public Rela- 
tions under Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Davis, 
the former adjutant general at SHAEF. 
Inasmuch as the two were to continue sep- 
arately along lines laid down previously 
for the combined division, it is necessary to 
consider their background together and 
then to examine their development as they 
went their separate ways. 

The British had begun as early as Sep- 
tember 1939 to beam broadcasts at =the 
enemy and to direct the dropping of prop- 
aganda leaflets through such agencies as 
the Ministry of Information, the Political 
Intelligence Department of the Foreign 
Office, and the British Broadcasting Cor- 
poration. The United States, after its en- 
try into the war, reinforced British efforts 
with the activities of the Office of War In- 
formation and the Office of Strategic 
Services. Both the British and U.S. civilian 
organizations had their own special appro- 
priations, personnel, and equipment. 
Their activities included preparation for 
the cross-Channel attack. 32 

Political policies affecting the work of 
these agencies were s^et then, as during the 
period of SHAEF's operations, by the 
President, the Prime Minister, the Foreign 

31 Remarks, Eisenhower before ECAD and SHAEF 
Officer Personnel at Civil Affairs Center, 9 May 44, 
SHAEF G-5 Hist File 10, Histories and Monograph. 

32 Psychological Warfare Division (SHAEF), An Ac- 
count of Its Operations in the Western European Operation, 
1944-45 (Bad Homburg, 1945), pp. 13-20. This study 
was prepared by the division shortly after the end of 
the war and is its official after action report. 



THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 



85 




Office, and the State Department. The 
Ministry of Information was responsible to 
Parliament for British propaganda. The 
degree of control exercised by the Office of 
War Information and the Office of Strate- 
gic Services was not always so clear cut, in- 
asmuch as President Roosevelt in giving 
the former the chief responsibility for 
foreign propaganda activities, did not bar 
the latter's use of propaganda weapons for 
breaking enemy morale. 33 

The Allies initially gave the task of issu- 
ing broad directives for Allied propaganda 
efforts in northwest Europe to the Political 
Warfare Executive" and the Office of War 
Information. Such directives naturally re- 
quired agreement in Washington and Lon- 
don. This arrangement was modified in 
the late summer of 1943, after the Allies 
had found themselves unprepared for the 
task of getting maximum psychological re- 
sults from the fall of Mussolini. A new or- 
ganization, known as the London Coordi- 
nating Committee for Political Warfare, 
and consisting of the representatives of the 
Foreign Office, the Political Warfare Ex- 
ecutive, British Chiefs of Staff, State De- 
partment, Office of War Information, and 
U.S. Chiefs of Staff, was established to is- 
sue directives for emergency propaganda 
activities. 35 The U.S. members of the 
group soon complained that the British 
were attempting to use it to decide routine 
as well as emergency propaganda policy. 
The U.S. Chiefs of Staff prepared a pro- 
test but reconsidered when the State De- 
partment praised the work of the London 
Committee. Control of propaganda was 
centered in London much more fully than 
were civil affairs and similar matters. 
While the Combined Chiefs of Staff passed 
on propaganda plans relating to military 
operations, they tended to restrict their ac- 
tivities to approval of broad plans. Indica- 



GENERAL McCLURE 

control over civil affairs and propaganda 
was the fact that civil affairs was handled 
by a special division, whereas propaganda 
was restricted to a branch of the intelli- 
gence division. 36 

App. B to Note by Secy J PS, Exec Order 9312, 9 
Mar 43; Incl B to note by Secys PWPS, 13 Jan 44. 
Both in ABC Propaganda Com ( 15 Aug 43) 334. 

SA Made up of representatives of War Office, Ad- 
miralty, Foreign Office, and the Ministry oflnfor- 
mation, 

31 This committee was known also by such names 
as the London Political Warfare Coordinating Com- 
mittee, London Emergency Propaganda Committee, 
and London Propaganda Coordinating Committee. 
Its members were Sir Ormc Sargent (Foreign Office), 
Chairman, Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart (Political War- 
fare Executive), Deputy Chairman, General Ismay 
(representative of the British Chiefs of Staff), Howard 
Bucknell (State Department), Wallace Carroll (Office 
of War Information), and Admiral Harold R. Stork 
(representative of the U.S. "Chiefs of Staff), 

« Memo for Info 17 1, 23 Dec 43, ABC 334 Propa- 
ganda Com ( 15 Aug 43) 334; Paul M. A. Linebarger, 
Psychological Warfare (Washington, 1948), Chs. 10-13: 
PWD (SHAEF), An Account of Its Operations, pp. 1 3-20. 



86 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Development of the press and propa- 
ganda division of SHAEF was influenced 
to a degree by the Information and Cen- 
sorship Section (INC), established at Al- 
lied Force Headquarters in January 1943 
under General McClure. After studying 
the North African organization, General 
Morgan in April 1943 proposed a similar 
branch for COSSAC and appointed a 
small staff to plan such a branch for 
SHAEF. In September 1943 he formally 
proposed the establishment of a Publicity 
and Psychological Warfare Section for 
SHAEF, and "a single channel to coordi- 
nate press and radio comment guidance in 
the U.S. with similar guidance to the 
UK. . . ." 37 

COSSAC's proposal, approved prompt- 
ly by the British Chiefs of Staff, was 
countered by a U.S. suggestion that it 
await the appointment of the Supreme 
Commander. Contrary to the views of 
both British and U.S. advisers in London, 
the U.S. Chiefs of Staff desired joint heads 
for the organization. General Marshall, 
agreeing that the proposal violated sound 
principles of organization, justified it on 
the ground that the people of the United 
States and Great Britain would have more 
confidence in the operation if they knew 
their interests were being looked after by 
their own representatives. Asked by the 
British to reconsider this stand, the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff agreed to leave the 
matter to the Supreme Commander. He 
settled it early in 1944 when he expressed 
a preference for a single U.S. head of the 
division and a British deputy, and General 
McClure, who had been brought from the 
Allied Force Headquarters in November 
1943 to head the COSSAC Publicity and 
Psychological Branch, was selected as 
chief of the new G-6 Division. 38 

The new organization was criticized on 
the ground that one of its functions might 



be cultivated at the expense of the other, 
depending on the major interest of the 
chief of the division. Inasmuch as psycho- 
logical warfare activities required close 
co-ordination between the G-6 Division 
and the British and U.S. civilian agencies 
for propaganda, the press representatives 
feared that their problems might be neg- 
lected. General McClure recognized the 
difficulty in April 1 944 when he disclosed 
that "these fundamentally different organ- 
izations could be directed more effectively 
if separated and reestablished directly in 
contact with appropriate operational and 
command channels." This initial sugges- 
tion for the abolition of the G-6 Division 
was approved, but his later proposal of 10 
April to make the Psychological Warfare 
Division a general staff division was dis- 
regarded. The separation, as already 
noted, was completed on 13 April. 39 

Psychological Warfare Division 

The task of Psychological Warfare in 
the first phase of its activities — the period 
before and after D Day until German 
morale began to crumble — consisted of 
long-term efforts to create in the German 
soldier's mind a belief in the reliability of 
Allied statements, in Allied unity, and in 
the certainty of German defeat. The short- 
term objective for phase one comprised 
the spreading of defeatism by showing 
Allied supremacy in men and weapons, 

37 Morgan to Br COS, 7 Sep 43, SHAEF SGS 
322.01 Publicity and Psychological Warfare Div. 

38 Ltr, Morgan to Devers, 20 Sep 43; CCS 124th 
Mtg, 22 Oct 43; JSM 1277, 23 Oct 43; Br COS to 

JSM, COS (W) 923, 2 Nov 43; Memo, Barker for 
CCS, 31 Dec 43. All in SHAEF SGS Publicity and 
Psychological Warfare 322.01. SHAEF GO 2, 14 Feb 
44. 

39 Memo, McClure for CofS, SHAEF, 5 Apr 44; 
Memo, McClure for CofS, SHAEF, 10 Apr 44; 
SHAEF GO 8, 13 Apr 44. All in SHAEF SGS 322.01 
Organization and Personnel Public Relations Div, I. 



THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 



87 



emphasizing kind treatment of prisoners 
by the Allies, stimulating German anxiety 
about the danger of a two-front war and 
of sabotage and resistance by occupied 
peoples, and sowing distrust between the 
German Air Force and Army. After D 
Day greater effort was to be placed on 
spreading distrust of foreigners in the Ger- 
man Army. 40 

Plans to achieve these ends, prepared 
by the representatives of the Political War- 
fare Executive and the Office of War In- 
formation at SHAEF and approved by the 
Supreme Commander, had been sent to 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff before the 
abolition of the G-6 Division. In order to 
save time, General Eisenhower directed 
his staff to proceed on the assumption that 
the plan would be accepted. The State 
Department, which had not been asked 
for its opinion in advance, concluded that 
it was faced by a fait accompli and did little 
more than propose a few minor changes 
which were incorporated by the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff in their statement of 
general agreement with the Publicity and 
Psychological Warfare plans on 11 May 
1944. By the time final changes were ap- 
proved, the plan was already being carried 
out in many of its essential features. 41 

Allied operations were supported by 
three types of propaganda: strategic, com- 
bat, and consolidation. With the first type, 
strategic, SHAEF had little to do. Under- 
mining the enemy's will to resist and sus- 
taining the morale of Allied sympathizers 
were missions carried on by the Office of 
War Information, the Political Warfare 
Executive, the Ministry of Information, 
and the Office of Strategic Services under 
Office of War Information-Political War- 
fare Executive directives. The means in- 
cluded radio broadcasts, dropping of 
leaflets, and the use of agents. Combat 
propaganda was carried out in accordance 



with SHAEF directives by army groups 
and, when necessary, by Allied naval and 
air forces. Activities of this type included 
the collection of psychological warfare in- 
formation, use of tactical leaflets, and 
operation of mobile broadcasting units, 
mobile public address systems, monitoring 
service, and field printing. Consolidation 
propaganda operations, reserved specifi- 
cally to SHAEF, included the collection of 
psychological warfare information; the 
operation or control and servicing of local 
newspapers, radio stations, and motion 
picture houses; distribution of propaganda 
literature and displays; and liaison with 
various headquarters on psychological 
warfare matters. In an effort to unify 
psychological warfare efforts, representa- 
tives of the chief civilian agencies engaged 
in propaganda activities — C. D.Jackson 
(OWI), R. H. S. Crossman (PWE), Den- 
nis Routh (MOI), and Fred Oechsner 
(OSS) — were appointed as deputies to 
General McClure. 42 

General McClure met difficulties in 
persuading the 1st and 21 Army Groups 
to establish a general staff section in each 
headquarters to handle psychological war- 
fare matters. The 1st Army Group, while 
not convinced of the need of establishing 
such a section, agreed after a short delay, 
but the 21 Army Group did not comply 



40 Early drafts and final text of SHAEF's "Standard 
Directive for Psychological Warfare against Members 
of the German Armed Forces," 16Jun 44, SHAEF 
SGS 091/412/3 Psychological Warfare against Ger- 
many, I. 

41 Eisenhower to CCS, SCAF 12, 3 Apr 44, SHAEF 
SGS 381/1 P and PW Outline Plan Overlord, I; 
SHAEF to Air CinC, AEAF, 1 1 Apr 44, SHAEF SGS 
091.412 Propaganda, I; CCS 545, 13 Apr 44; Memo, 
State Dept to Col Frank McCarthy, 22 Apr 44; CCS 
545/2, 1 1 May 44. Both in ABC 385 Europe (23 Sep 
43), Sec 3. 

42 SHAEF Opns Memo 8, 1 1 Mar 44, SHAEF SGS 
322.01 Publicity and Psychological Warfare Div; 
PWD (SHAEF), An Account of Its Operations, p. 15. 



88 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



until March. To guide the army groups, 
SHAEF drew up before D Day a directive 
for psychological warfare against the Ger- 
mans. Its principles were generally fol- 
lowed in the early days of the invasion, 
but it was not formally issued until mid- 
June. 

The Allied propaganda program was 
intended to aid the Supreme Commander 
to fulfill his mission with the most econom- 
ical use of troops and equipment possible. 
At the same time, nothing was to be done 
to prejudice Allied policy toward Ger- 
many after the war ended. There was to 
be no suggestion that the German Army 
would be absolved from guilt of aggression 
or that German militarism would be al- 
lowed to continue in any form after the 
war. It was assumed that the Germans, 
having heard such propaganda in 1918, 
would be immune to this type of appeal 
and would fight against it. Instead the 
Allies, were to stress the enemy's lack of 
manpower and equipment, the weakness 
of the Luftwaffe, and the superiority of the 
Allies, and to play up the ineffectiveness of 
Hitler's leadership, the impossibility of 
dealing successfully with two fronts, and 
the unlikelihood of German victory. The 
German soldier was to be convinced that 
he had done his full duty as a fighting man 
and could surrender with honor. 43 

Public Relations Division 

The Public Relations Division was 
charged with responsibility for control of 
press, photographic, and radio censorship 
in the Supreme Commander's zone of op- 
erations, for general control over all com- 
munications which might be available in 
the military zone for the press, for infor- 
mation to press and radio correspondents 
for communiques, and for policy for news 



correspondents in the European Theater 
of Operations. 44 

In carrying out its various duties, the 
Public Relations Division was caught be- 
tween the necessity of maintaining strict 
operational security and the attempt to 
give the people of Great Britain and the 
United States the maximum number of 
details about their forces. Many delicate 
problems faced the SHAEF officials in 
struggling with this dilemma. The infor- 
mation given correspondents before D Day, 
the movement of correspondents in the 
preinvasion period, and the briefing of 
correspondents from neutral countries 
might all be helpful to the enemy. Allied 
commanders found, for example, that the 
dating of a dispatch from a zone of con- 
centration or a statement by a well-known 
correspondent like Ernie Pyle or Alan 
Moorehead that he had been in a specific 
part of the United Kingdom might draw 
attention to Allied preparations. The 
Prime Minister was alarmed when a Brit- 
ish military writer showed him privately 
the main outlines of the invasion plan 
which he had put together from fragments 
of information given him unwittingly by a 
number of officers. Even more disconcert- 
ing were the rather accurate surmises as to 
Allied plans which correspondents made 
in the absence of official statements. 45 

The situation in the United Kingdom 
became worse as the number of corre- 
spondents rapidly increased in anticipa- 

43 SHAEF directive on psychological warfare, 16 
Jun 44, SHAEF SGS 091/412/3 Psychological War- 
fare against Germany, I. 

44 SHAEF Opns Memo 24, Press Policy, 24 Apr 44, 
SHAEF SGS Policy re Release of Info to Press 000.7; 
History of U.S. and Supreme Headquarters, AEF, 
Press Censorship in the European Theater of Opera- 
tions, 1942-45, MS, mimeo, Chs. 2-3, OCMH files. 

45 See Ltr, Churchill to Eisenhower, 28 Jan 44, and 
other correspondence on subject in SHAEF SGS 
000. 7 Policy re Release of Info to Press. 



THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 



89 



tion of D Day. There was no rigid control 
over newsmen and photographers like that 
enforced by censors in the field. In concern 
over these developments in the opening 
days of 1944, the British Chiefs of Staff 
had asked that General Eisenhower be 
informed of the situation as soon as he 
arrived in London. General McClure 
recommended that a carefully selected 
and limited number of correspondents be 
accredited to SHAEF and that their dis- 
patches be subjected to military censor- 
ship. The need for some form of control 
was accentuated near the end of January 
by a British security report which showed 
that secrecy of invasion preparations had 
been compromised by continued accounts 
of General Montgomery's visits to invasion 
ports and by a statement from ENSA, the 
British equivalent of the United Services 
Organization (USO), that it was ready to 
proceed overseas after the end of January. 
The Prime Minister reminded the Su- 
preme Commander that efforts were being 
made to persuade editors in the United 
States and Great Britain not to make fore- 
casts as to the possible date of the cross- 
Channel attack or the size of forces to be 
employed. Churchill suggested that "a 
very stringent attitude should be adopted 
in regard to communication to Press Cor- 
respondents in this country of any back- 
ground information about Overlord 
operations, either before they start, or 
while they proceed." 46 

General Eisenhower, preferring to pro- 
ceed slowly with the accrediting of corre- 
spondents to his headquarters, said that 
Mr. Brendan Bracken, director of the 
Ministry of Information, had agreed to 
talk with General McClure concerning 
"the best means of keeping the Press se- 
curely in the dark" without appearing to 
treat them as outsiders. The Supreme 



Commander insisted on the necessity of 
assuring the correspondents that the 
SHAEF press relations staff was friendly 
to them. Among steps which General 
Eisenhower took to preserve secrecy were 
the reissuance of a British circular of the 
preceding April forbidding senior com- 
manders to hold press conferences on op- 
erational matters without special permis- 
sion, and a directive to General McClure 
to co-ordinate all U.S. public relations 
policy for the theater. 47 

As the date for the invasion approached, 
Mr. William Phillips, the United States 
political officer for SHAEF, proposed that 
General Eisenhower brief the press on the 
combined effort of the Allies in order that 
they might have something "exciting and 
imaginative" to think about before D Day. 
General Eisenhower agreed to the sugges- 
tion, and gave an "off the record" inter- 
view on 16 May. He had prepared the 
way by issuing an order to his unit com- 
manders two weeks before the conference 
reminding them that correspondents once 
they had been accredited to SHAEF were 
considered as "quasi-staff officers." There- 
fore, they were to be given all reasonable 
assistance. They were to be allowed to 
talk freely with officers and enlisted men 
and to "see the machinery of war in opera- 
tion in order to visualize and transmit to 
the public the conditions under which the 
men from their countries are waging war 
against the enemy." He read this order to 
the correspondents at the beginning of his 



46 Ismay to GOSSAG, 14 Jan 44; McClure to GofS, 
SHAEF, 22 Jan 44; McClure to GofS, SHAEF, 23 Jan 
44; Ltr, Churchill to Eisenhower, 28 Jan 44. All in 
SHAEF SGS 000.7 Policy re Release of Info to Press, I. 

47 Ltr, Eisenhower to Churchill, 6 Feb 44; Incl to 
Ltr, Brig Ian C. Jacob to Smith, 3 1 Jan 44; Memo, 
Brig Jacob for Smith, 7 Feb 44; Memo, Smith for Lee, 
Bradley, and others, 1 1 Feb 44. All in SHAEF SGS 
000.7 Policy re Release of Info to Press. 



90 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



mid-May conference, reiterating his belief 
that public opinion wins wars. "Without 
public opinion back of us," he added, "we 
would be nothing but mercenaries." The 
people should be informed if the tide of 
battle was going against them, and if the 
fault lay with the leadership. He prom- 
ised that there would be no censorship of 
any criticism the correspondents might 
make of him, because he did not believe 
that "a military man in high places should 
use his extraordinary power to protect 
himself." 48 

On 1 May 1944, SHAEF issued its plans 
for control of the press during the Over- 
lord operations. It was to accredit corre- 
spondents, radiomen, photographers, and 
newsreel men and assign them to lower 
units in accordance with a block system by 
which a specified number was to be ac- 
cepted by each unit. Correspondents from 
the various Allied countries were tc be 
treated on a basis of equality in regard to 
communications, transportation, and the 
like. During the next month, the Public 
Relations Division worked at the task of 
compiling a list of accredited photog- 
raphers, press correspondents, and radio- 
men. The list on 7 June 1944 numbered 
530. 49 

Press Censorship 

In carrying out its task of censoring 
news and photographs, SHAEF followed 
British and U.S. practices developed in the 
United Kingdom after the outbreak of 
war. U.S. censors had been appointed in 
1942 shortly after U.S. troops arrived in 
the United Kingdom, and worked in close 
contact with the British censors. In late 
April 1944, a Joint Press Censorship 
Group, headed by Lt. Col. Richard H. 
Merrick (U.S.) and including officers 



from the Allied ground, sea, and air forces 
was organized. Its purpose was to advise 
the British Ministry of Information on 
censorship of press and radio material 
originating in the United Kingdom which 
dealt with contemplated operations, and 
to censor material returned to the United 
Kingdom from the Continent. The chief 
of the Public Relations Division was made 
responsible for the censorship of press ma- 
terial originating in the United Kingdom 
which dealt with U.S. forces. 50 

SHAEF gave responsibility for field 
press censorship to the army group com- 
manders. These were to consult, if neces- 
sary, with Allied air and naval com- 
manders. In censoring news, they were to 
be guided by the principle that "the mini- 
mum of information would be withheld 
from the public consistent with security." 
In general they were not to release military 
information that might prove helpful to 
the enemy, unauthenticated, inaccurate, 
or false reports, or reports likely to injure 
the morale of the Allied forces. The follow- 
ing items were among those which could 

48 Phillips to CofS, SHAEF, 10 Apr 44; Davis to 
CofS, SHAEF, 16 May 44; Memo, Eisenhower for all 
unit comdrs, AEF, 8 May 44, and draft of 3 May 44 
with major changes in Eisenhower's handwriting; 
Eisenhower interview with correspondents, 22 May 
44. All in SHAEF SGS 000.74 Press Correspondents. 

49 Public Relations plans and annexes, 1 May 44, 
SHAEF SGS 381/9 Public Relations Plan for Over- 
lord: list of correspondents accredited by SHAEF, 
7 Jun 44, SHAEF SGS 000.74 Press Correspondents. 
The 530 photographers, reporters, and radiomen were 
distributed as follows: U.S.: press associations 72, radio 
25, individual newspapers 79, magazines 35, photog- 
raphers (including newsreel cameramen) 25, Army 
correspondents 19 — total 255; British: press associa- 
tions 30, individual newspapers 1 18, radio 48, maga- 
zines 7, photographers 12 — total 215; Canadian: press 
associations 7, newspapers 13, radio 5, magazines 1 — 
total 26; Australian: press associations 10, newspapers 
15, total— 25; Allied (French, Dutch, and Nor- 
wegian) — 9. 

50 SHAEF Opns Memo 27, 25 Apr 44, SHAEF SGS 
000.73 Policy and infraction of Press Censorship. 



THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 



91 



be cleared only by SHAEF censors: (1) all 
matters of high policy involving SHAEF 
or the Supreme Commander; (2) the re- 
lease of information on troops of various 
nationalities taking part in actions; (3) 
casualties and troop strength; (4) cipher 
work and code words; (5) civil affairs; (6) 
confirmation of enemy allegations, atroci- 
ties, and the like; (7) escapes; (8) gas and 
chemical warfare; (9) military equipment; 
(10) strength and morale of troops; (11) 
high-ranking officers at SHAEF; (12) 
changes in command and movement of 
high-ranking officers; (13) stories concern- 
ing prisoners of war involving harsh treat- 
ment; (14) psychological warfare; (15) re- 
sistance and underground movements; 
(16) sabotage and spies; and (17) naval 
ships and commanders. 51 

Censors were guided by a press censor- 
ship bible, a 200-page mimeographed 
document containing the censorship policy 
of British, Canadian, and U.S. forces in 
the European theater. This was supple- 
mented by daily directives, known as Press 
Relations Censorship Guidances and Press 
Censors' Guidances, which listed items to 
be stopped or passed by the censors; by the 
Secret List, issued monthly by the War 
Office, containing the security classifica- 
tion of Allied equipment; by "Trend of 
Copy," a summary of the type of news- 
paper copy which had been passed or 
stopped by the censors; and by pertinent 
Ministry of Information statements. 52 

The Special Staff Divisions 

With the exception of the Adjutant 
General's Division, which confined its 
activities chiefly to Supreme Headquar- 
ters, the special staff divisions of SHAEF 
were supervisory rather than operational 
in nature. The chiefs of most of these divi- 



sions spoke of their functions as being 
mainly those of inspectors general. The 
divisions strengthened the unity of Allied 
operations by co-ordinating the work of 
the army groups and the supply organiza- 
tions. They estimated future needs of the 
various field forces, checked plans made at 
lower levels, helped smooth out difficulties 
between lower headquarters, and used the 
authority of the Supreme Commander to 
get men or equipment needed for carrying 
out various operations. 

Adjutant General's Division 

The Adjutant General's Division was 
established on U.S. principles of organiza- 
tion and staffed largely by U.S. officers 
and men. 53 It performed the usual adju- 
tant general functions, handling incoming 
and outgoing mail, preparing and editing 
orders, preparing circulars and directives, 
and filing records. It shared some of 
these functions with the Office of the 
Secretary, General Staff. General Davis, 
the original adjutant general, had held the 
same post at Allied Force Headquarters 
until brought by General Eisenhower to 
SHAEF. At the end of March 1944 Gen- 
eral Davis received his assignment as head 
of the Public Relations Division. He was 
succeeded as head of the Adjutant Gen- 

51 Public relations plan issued 1 May 44 with an- 
nexes, SHAEF SGS 381/9 Overlord Public Rela- 
tions Plan; SHAEF Opns Memo 27, 25 Apr 44, 
SHAEF SGS 000.73 Policy and Infraction of Press 
Censorship, I; PRD, History of Press Censorship, pp. 
102-03. 

52 PRD, History of Press Censorship, pp. 85-87. For 
press relati ons activities f rom June 1944 to May 1945 
see below, Appendix A. 

53 Unlike other SHAEF divisions, the AG Division 
had no British deputy. At peak strength, the division 
had 23 British officers and men (1 officer, 2 warrant 
officers, and 20 enlisted men) as compared to 102 U.S. 
members (18 officers, 10 warrant officers, and 74 en- 
listed men). 



92 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



eral's Division by his deputy, Col. Emil C. 
Boehnke. In October 1944, General Davis 
returned to his original position as adju- 
tant general. 

Signal Division 

The Signal Division, like most SHAEF 
staff divisions, was engaged primarily in 
high-level planning. It also co-ordinated 
all Allied signal activities. The division ex- 
amined the requirements of British and 
U.S. forces for signal personnel and equip- 
ment, and helped work out policy and pri- 
orities relative to the issuance of equip- 
ment. It prepared frequency allotments 
for radios and co-ordinated radar plans 
and operations, codes and cipher systems 
to be used by forces under SHAEF, all op- 
erating procedures, and all wire and cable 
systems in the United Kingdom and the 
projected areas of operations. Much of 
this work was done through a Combined 
Signal Committee of which the SHAEF 
chief signal officer was chairman. . This 
committee consisted of representatives of 
SHAEF, the Allied Naval Expeditionary 
Force, the Allied Expeditionary Air Force, 
Headquarters, European Theater of Op- 
erations, and the army groups. 

The original intention had been to se- 
lect a U.S. officer as head of the division, 
but in view of the dependence of the Allied 
forces on the British communications sys- 
tem during the preinvasion and early in- 
vasion periods the post went to a British 
officer, Maj. Gen. C. H. H. Vulliamy, who 
was brought from the Middle East Com- 
mand. Maj. Gen. Francis H. Lanahan,Jr. 
(U.S.), was selected as his deputy. The 
U.S. officer was given a free hand in deal- 
ing with U.S. signal personnel and equip- 
ment. General Lanahan succeeded Gen- 
eral Vulliamy when the latter was trans- 



ferred to the India Command in April 
1945. Maj. Gen. L. B. Nicholls (Br.) then 
became Deputy Signal Officer. 

British and U.S. signal units com- 
manded by a U.S. colonel handled SHAEF 
communications. SHAEF also undertook 
to control the maintenance of lines up to 
points some twenty miles from the front 
lines. The actual work, however, was car- 
ried on in this SHAEF zone by Headquar- 
ters, Communications Zone. The SHAEF 
signal division put in lines for correspond- 
ents working for Supreme Headquarters, 
but had no control of psychological war- 
fare or intelligence signal communica- 
tions. 54 

Engineer Division 

The work of the SHAEF Engineer Divi- 
sion was limited mainly to co-ordinating 
the work of the army groups. An impor- 
tant function was to anticipate army 
group needs for engineer supplies and help 
procure engineer materiel from the Allied 
supply organizations. These tasks were 
complicated because there was no clear 
demarcation of responsibilities between 
the G-4 and the Engineer Division. By 
planning ahead, the division was able to 
furnish the army groups with terrain 
studies, engineer intelligence studies, rec- 
ommendations on new techniques, equip- 
ment, and tactics, and outline engineer 
estimates of the situation. 

The Engineer Division's responsibilities 
for allocating engineer materials between 
the army groups were limited in northwest 
Europe because in most things the na- 
tional forces were already well enough 
supplied from their own engineer stocks. 
One exception was timber, which tended 



54 Interv with Gen Vulliamy, 22 Jan 47. 



THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 



93 



to be largely in one army's area. SHAEF 
was required to intervene and make more 
equita/ble division of this scarce com- 
modity. 55 

The Engineer Division was headed 
throughout 1944 by a British officer, Maj. 
Gen. H. B. W. Hughes, who held a similar 
position in the Middle East Command. He 
was succeeded by his U.S. deputy, Brig. 
Gen. Beverly C. Dunn in February 1945. 
Brigadier R. Briggs then became deputy. 
The four chief branches of the division — 
general administration, operations, trans- 
portation, and aerodrome construction- 
were all headed by U.S. officers. During 
his tenure, General Hughes usually worked 
with the British military groups and the 
Ministry of Transport and Supply, while 
General Dunn dealt with the U.S. units. 

Medical Division 

SHAEF's smallest division, the medical, 
which during most of the war consisted of 
thirteen officers and men, was responsible 
for the medical services of the Allied Expe- 
ditionary Force. In the words of Maj. Gen. 
Albert W. Kenner, the chief of the Medi- 
cal Division, his job "was more that of a 
medical Inspector General than anything 
else." His task was to integrate and co- 
ordinate British and U.S. medical plan- 
ning and later that of the French forces. 
General Kenner was directed to correct 
any medical practices which were not up 
to standard. 56 

The Medical Division performed its 
functions by maintaining liaison with 
British and U.S. army groups, Headquar- 
ters, ETOUSA, the War Office, Admi- 
ralty, Air Ministry, and Ministry of 
Health, giving advice and reports to the 
Supreme Commander and staff on all 
matters relating to the British and U.S. 



medical service within the Command, col- 
lecting and collating all available medical 
data, visiting medical installations, dem- 
onstrations, exercises, experiments, and 
trials in the European and other theaters 
and making reports on them. 

General Kenner, who had served as 
Chief Surgeon, North African Forces, 
remained as head of the Medical Divi- 
sion throughout the life of SHAEF. Three 
British officers, Brigadier E. A. Sutton, 
Brigadier R. W. Galloway, and Brigadier 
H. L. Garson, served in succession as his 
deputies. 

Air Defense Division 

The Air Defense Division was based on 
a similar organization which had been es- 
tablished in the Mediterranean theater in 
1943 in order to prevent Allied antiair- 
craft units from shooting down their own 
planes as they had at Bari. The Mediter- 
ranean practice of having a major general 
at Allied Force Headquarters to command 
the antiaircraft group directly was made 
unfeasible in the European command by 
the presence of three, and later of four, 
widely separated groups. Maj. Gen. A. M. 
Cameron was told, therefore, on his ap- 
pointment that he was to be more an in- 
spector general than a staff chief. He was 
to make sure that there were no gaps in 
port defenses between the three services 
and to act in the Supreme Commander's 
name to make changes if they were 
needed. 57 

Other tasks of the Air Defense Division 
included the adjustment of antiaircraft 
units between the army groups and the 
Ninth Air Force. At Cherbourg, for exam- 

55 Interv with Gen Hughes, 12 Feb 47. 

56 Interv with Gen Kenner, 27 May 48. 

57 Interv with Gen Cameron, 22 Jan 47. 




GENERAL KENNER 



GENERAL HUGHES 



THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 



95 



pie, SHAEF added British elements to aid 
the U.S. antiaircraft elements; at Antwerp 
it did the reverse. These allocations were 
normally made by the deputy, initially a 
British officer, Col. W. S.J. Garter. He was 
replaced in February 1945 by Brig. Gen. 
Samuel L. McCroskcy (U.S.). 

• Political Officers 

The political officers at SHAEF were 
diplomats selected by the Department of 
State and the Foreign Office to represent 
them at Supreme Headquarters. Both the 
United States and Great Britain con- 
tinued a practice which they had started 
at General Eisenhower's headquarters 
shortly after the landings in North Africa. 
The advis ers thus named remained as 
civilian officials under the control of their 
superiors in Washington and London. 
Their purpose was to make available to 
the Supreme Commander political infor- 
mation which might help him in planning 
and to acquaint him with the political im- 
plications of proposed actions. 58 

The political officers were called on in 
particular in regard to civil affairs, mili- 
tary government, psychological warfare, 
intelligence, and posthostilities planning. 
The Foreign Office appointed Mr. Charles 
B. P. Peake as political adviser to the 
COSSAC organization in September 1943. 
About the middle of that month, the Secre- 
tary of State appointed William Phillips 
as his representative to the Chief of Staff 
to the Supreme Allied Commander with 
the rank of Ambassador. Early in 1944 
both Mr. Peake and Mr. Phillips were ap- 
pointed to the SHAEF staff with the title 
of Political Officers. 59 In this capacity they 
made suggestions relative to the civil af- 
fairs organization for France, giving their 
support to SHAEF's efforts to find a 



French political authority with which the 
Supreme Commander could deal. They 
also helped the psychological warfare divi- 
sion of SHAEF draw up a proposed state- 
ment on unconditional surrender which 
might soften that formula. They were also 
included among the members of the Joint 
Intelligence Committee (SHAEF). The 
SHAEF officials gave the political officers 
full opportunities to follow planning and 
to question any plans that might have a 
political bearing. The two advisers re- 
ported to the SHAEF chief of staff con- 
tents of political dispatches which they 
thought might be of interest to Generals 
Eisenhower and Smith. 

At the beginning of September 1944 
Mr. Phillips was assigned other duties and 
Mr. Samuel Reiser, who had been counsel- 
lor of mission on Mr. Phillips' staff, was 
designated by the President as Political 
Officer at SHAEF for France and other 
liberated countries. 60 Shortly afterward, 
Ambassador Robert D. Murphy was ap- 
pointed as Political Officer for German Af- 
fairs. He was well acquainted with Gen- 
eral Eisenhower and many members of 

58 This section has drawn on information furnished 
by Ambassador Robert D. Murphy, former Ambas- 
sador Phillips, and Mr. Samuel Reber to the author 
in letters of 6 September 1951, 23 October 1951, and 
30 October 1951. Mr. Murphy says of his appoint- 
ment ill North Africa: ". . . as far as I know, my 
assignment to AFHQ, as Political Adviser and Chief 
Civil Affairs Officer was the first instance in pur his- 
tory of such an arrangement under which a civilian 
was attached to a military headquarters and permitted 
to participate in regular staff meetings with access to 
classified communications, both military and political. 
As there was apparently no precedent for it, General 
Eisenhower was guided largely by his own good judg- 
ment and conception of the needs of the situation. 
These usually were concurred in by the British ele- 
ment of his headquarters." 

58 SHAEF GO 2, 14 Feb 44. (The title Political Ad- 
viser was used from time to time in SHAEF corre- 
spondence, but Political Officer was the title which 
normally appeared in SHAEF organization charts). 

8 « SHAEF GO 18, 2 Sep 44. 



96 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



the SHAEF staff, having served as Politi- 
cal Adviser in North Africa, as Chief Civil 
Affairs Adviser on Italian Affairs at Allied 
Force Headquarters, and as U.S. member 
on the Advisory Council of the Allied Con- 
trol Commission for Italy. Mr. Charles 
Peake remained as the British Political 
Officer until February 1945 when he was 
replaced by Mr. Christopher Steel. 

In the period between the liberation of 
Paris and the re-establishment of the U.S. 
and British Embassies there, the SHAEF 
political officers were responsible for non- 
military relations with national authorities 
that might be functioning in France. They 
were also charged with co-ordinating the 
work of the special SHAEF missions to 
continental governments. As normal 
diplomatic channels were re-established, 
the functions of these officers decreased. 
Mr. Peake's successor devoted himself pri- 
marily to German affairs after his appoint- 
ment in February 1945. Mr. Reber was 
transferred to another post in April 1945. 

Mr. Murphy's position was somewhat 
complicated in that he served as a repre- 
sentative of the State Department with the 
rank of Ambassador on the SHAEF staff 
and also as director of the Political Divi- 
sion in the U.S. Group Control Council, 
set up under Brig. Gen. Cornelius W. 
Wickefsham to formulate policy and 
create the nucleus of the organization of 
U.S. military government in Germany. 61 
It was his responsibility to reflect the 
views of the Department of State in the 
preparation of the papers drawn up by 
this group. He also kept abreast of the ac- 
tivities of the European Advisory Commis- 
sion which was engaged in drawing up 
surrender terms for Germany and policy 
for the occupation of that country. 

The various political officers had their 
own staffs, including both military and 



State Department personnel. They had di- 
rect access to the Supreme Commander 
but usually conducted their business 
through the chief of staff. They also at- 
tended staff conferences of the Supreme 
Commander and of the chief of staff 
when matters pertaining to the liberated 
countries and Germany were discussed. 

Committees 

Inter-Allied committees handled much 
of SHAEF's work of co-ordination. In 
many cases, these groups were headed by 
SHAEF deputy chiefs of staff or chiefs of 
division. Their multifold activities . ex- 
tended to such questions as fuel, trans- 
portation, equipment of troops in liberated 
countries, combined civil affairs activities, 
censorship, intelligence, psychological 
warfare, displaced persons, counterintelli- 
gence, forestry and timber supply, com- 
munications, prisoners of war, and radio 
broadcasting. After the liberation of the 
various occupied countries, SHAEF was 
represented through its missions on a Four 
Party Committee, which dealt with all 
problems relating to imports for the civil- 
ian economy, a subcommittee on coal, a 
coal working party, a port working party, 
an inter- Allied railroad commission, an in- 
ter-Allied waterways commission, a mili- 
tary Rhine agency, a merchant marine 
commission, a POL working party, and an 
informal committee on food supplies. Still 
later, SHAEF was also represented on 
CCS committees dealing with military 
government for Germany. 

Locations of SHAEF 

SHAEF opened formally in the old 
COSSAC headquarters at Norfolk House, 

" See below, p. 351. 



THE MACHINERY OF SHAEF 



97 



but moved in March 1 944 to Bushy Park, 
near Kingston-on-Thames, on the out- 
skirts of London. Widewing, as it was 
known in military code, was built in a part 
of the park used by the Eighth Air Force, 
and opened in March 1944. It had been 
selected after some search to meet General 
Eisenhower's insistence that his headquar- 
ters not be set up in a large city. A hutted 
camp was built between 10 January and 1 
March 1944 to fill the SHAEF request for 
130,000 square feet of floor space and for 
billets to accommodate 688 officers and 
2,156 enlisted men. New units continued 
to be attached to or located near Supreme 
Headquarters, so that at the time of inva- 
sion, accommodations had been built for 
750 officers and 6,000 enlisted men. 62 

Shortly after the movement of SHAEF 
from London to Bushy Park, additional 
planning was started for the establishment 
of advanced echelons of Supreme Head- 
quarters. An advance command post 
known as Sharpener was opened for the 
Supreme Commander in early May at 
Portsmouth near the advance headquar- 
ters of 21 Army Group and the Allied 
Naval Expeditionary Force. Another ad- 
vanced post of SHAEF was set up at Stan- 
more, adjacent to the Headquarters, 
Allied Expeditionary Air Force. 63 

One of the chief considerations in the 
establishment of these and later command 
posts was the availability of adequate 
signal communications needed to connect 
the Supreme Commander with London, 
Washington, Algiers (and later Caserta), 
and the army group commanders. In the 
United Kingdom this task was simplified 
by the Defence Telecommunications Net- 
work of Great Britain, consisting of circuits 
transferred from the civil trunk system and 
of circuits newly constructed. The British 



naval, air, and army headquarters also 
had their own wire systems in addition to 
the regular civil telephone system. For 
a time after the move to Bushy Park, 
SHAEF used the lines of the Eighth Air 
Force. Later new construction improved 
and greatly extended these communica- 
tions. Remote control lines connected 
SHAEF with its bombproof signal center 
at the north end of the underground shel- 
ter at Goodge Street Station in London, 
where telephone, radio, and telegraph fa- 
cilities were opened on 1 1 March 1944. 
This signal center served SHAEF as an 
outlet until the end of the war. SHAEF 
communications throughout the war were 
handled by the U.S. 31 18th Signal Serv- 
ice Battalion and the British 5 Headquar- 
ters Signals, both of which were frequently 
enlarged. 64 

By the time of the invasion, the basic 
framework of Supreme Headquarters had 
been built. Later developments were con- 
fined to minor changes to make it conform 
to operational demands or to prepare it 
for posthostilities occupation duties. Ear- 
lier concepts of a small "Foch type" head- 
quarters suitable for a commander whose 
task was to be restricted to over-all co- 
ordination had been forgotten. Instead 
there had been organized a headquarters 
large enough to permit General Eisen- 
hower to exercise, in many cases directly, 
the great variety of functions assigned to 
the Supreme Commander, including, after 
1 September 1944, the direction of ground 
operations in the field. 



62 Interv with Brig Gen Robert Q. Brown (Com- 
mandant of SHAEF), Dec 45. 

63 Col Kutz's Memo dtd "April 1944" in answer to 
Gen Bull's Memo of 26 Apr 44, SHAEF G-3 (Move- 
ment, Composition, etc.), GCT, 370.5-41 Ops A. 

64 Rpt of Signal Div, SHAEF, I, 1-48. 



CHAPTER V 



Planning Before SHAEF 



SHAEF drew heavily on its predecessor 
commands for principles of organization 
and key personnel. In planning, it de- 
pended even more heavily on the British 
and U.S. staffs which since early in the 
war had been making strategic decisions 
and tactical and logistical preparations for 
a cross-Channel attack. Without these pre- 
liminary efforts, the Supreme Commander 
and his subordinates could not have hoped 
to launch Operation Overlord in June 
1944. 

Early Background 

Prime Minister Churchill had consid- 
ered the idea of an early return to the 
Continent even as the final British ele- 
ments were being evacuted from the ports 
of Normandy and Brittany in June 1940, 
and as he was having to improvise defen- 
sive measures against a German attack. 
He ordered the organization of raiding 
forces to hit the coasts of countries occu- 
pied by the enemy and in July 1940 set up 
a Combined Operations Headquarters to 
handle these activities. Thinking in terms 
of ultimate tank attacks along the Channel 
coast, he asked his planners to develop spe- 
cial landing craft which could carry ar- 
mored vehicles to the far shore. These 
armored elements, he hoped, could make 
deep raids inland, cut vital communica- 
tion lines, and then make their escape. 
Larger forces he predicted, might surprise 
Calais or Boulogne, kill or capture the 



enemy garrison, and hold the area until 
preparation had been made to reduce it. 
Mr. Churchill's orders turned the minds 
of the British planners toward offensive 
operations and launched a program of 
landing craft production that was essential 
to the ultimate cross-Channel attack. 1 

In September 1941, Gen. Sir John Dill, 
Chief of the Imperial General Staff, di- 
rected the British military planners to 
formulate a plan for a return to the Conti- 
nent. He added significantly that it should 
take into consideration the capabilities of 
U.S. construction. Members of the Future 
Operational Planning Section, GHQ, 
were gathering data on such an operation 
before the end of that year. The British 
Chiefs of Staff Committee gave further im- 
petus to this planning on 2 January 1942 
by directing General Paget, then Com- 
mander-in-Chief, Home Forces, "to pre- 
pare an outline for operations on the Con- 
tinent in the final phases and to review the 
plan periodically with a view to being able 
to put it into effect if a sudden change in 
the situation should appear to warrant 
such a course." 2 

1 Winston S. Churchill, Their Finest Hour (Boston, 
1949), Ch. 12; Lt Col Paddy Corbett, The Evolution 
and Development of Amphibious Technique and Ma- 
terial, 1945, MS, OCMH files; Brig A. H. Head, The 
Evolution and Development of Amphibious Tech- 
nique and Material, 1945, MS, OCMH files; Rear 
Adm Viscount Mountbatten of Burma to author, 18 
Feb 47. 

2 Brigadier A. H. Head, "Amphibious Operations," 
Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, XCI (No- 



PLANNING BEFORE SHAEF 



99 



After a brief study of the problems in- 
volved in a cross-Channel attack, the 
British Joint Planners agreed that the 
greatest contribution to the Allied cause in 
1942 would be to divert enemy forces from 
the Eastern Front. An examination of Ger- 
man fortifications on the Channel coast of 
Europe led them to conclude, however, 
that no sustained land operation could be 
made in that area in 1942. Their proposal 
that chief emphasis be placed on forcing 
the German Air Force to fight in the west 
was accepted by the British Chiefs of Staff. 
The latter directed the Combined Com- 
manders — an informal planning staff con- 
sisting of General Paget, Home Forces, Air 
Chief Marshal Sir Sholto Douglas, Fighter 
Command, and Vice Adm. Lord Louis 
Mountbatten, Combined Operations — to 
make plans for this purpose. 8 

In the United States, the War Depart- 
ment was also turning its attention to 
plans for attacking the enemy in north- 
west Europe. Committed to the policy of 
defeating Germany first, the United States 
started moving troops to the United King- 
dom in the early months of 1942. Head- 
quarters, U.S. Army Forces in the British 
Isles (USAFBI), was established in Lon- 
don on 8 January 1942 under Maj. Gen. 
James E. Chaney, and Headquarters, V 
Corps, was sent to Northern Ireland in the 
same month. Brig. Gen. Ira C. Eaker and 
the staff of his bomber command, consti- 
tuting the advance elements of the U.S. 
Army Air Forces in Great Britain, arrived 
in January; forward detachments of the 
VIII Bomber Command began to appear 
in February. 4 



vember, 1946), 485-94; Br COS 2d Mtg, 2 Jan 42, 
quoted in Capt. Martin McLaren, The Story of 
Sledgehammer, MS, OCMH files. (Captain Mc- 
Laren was a member of General Paget's staff and later 
secretary of the COSSAC staff.) 



The views of General Marshall and his 
staff were well illustrated in a War Plans 
Division memorandum of 28 February 
1942 presented by General Eisenhower, 
then the WPD chief. Emphasizing the im- 
portance of keeping the USSR in the war, 
Eisenhower proposed that the United 
States immediately extend lend-lease aid 
to the Red forces and initiate operations to 
draw sizable portions of the German Army 
from the Russian front. In particular, he 
urged the development of a definite plan 
for operations against northwest Europe in 
conjunction with the British on a scale 
sufficiently great "to engage from the mid- 
dle of May onward, an increasing portion 
of the German Air Force, and by late sum- 
mer an increasing amount of his ground 
forces." On 16 March the U.S. Joint Staff 
Planners, made up of representatives from 
the planning staffs of the Army, Navy, and 
Air Force, reported on alternative plans 
for U.S. Forces. They held that the United 
States should restrict its Pacific theater 
activities to existing commitments and 
concentrate on building up forces in the 
United Kingdom. This suggestion reached 
the U.S. Chiefs of Staff on the same day 
the British presented a tentative plan for 
invading the Le Havre area of France dur- 
ing the summer of 1942 in case of severe 

3 The Combined Commanders contributed heavily 
to the fund of knowledge on which COSSAC was later 
to draw. This staff was later enlarged to include the 
British Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth (Admiral 
Sir Charles Little), and the Commander, U.S. Forces 
in Europe, also attended some meetings. Air Chief 
Marshal Douglas was later replaced on the committee 
by Air Chief Marshal Leigh-Mallory. See Harrison, 
Cross-Channel Attack, Ch. 1, for details of the important 
work done by this group. 

4 The author has drawn, mainly in these early sec- 
tions on Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, Chs. I VII; 
and Cline, Washington Command Post; OPD. See also 
Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, Chs. XXIV, XXV, 
and Matloff and Snell, Strategic Planning/or Coalition 
Warfare, 1941-42. 



100 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



deterioration of the enemy's position. At 
the suggestion of General Marshall, the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff now ordered a 
study made of the possibilities of (1) land- 
ing and maintaining forces on the Con- 
tinent in 1942 and (2) an invasion early in 
1943. 

Meanwhile, in London, the Combined 
Commanders continued their investiga- 
tions of invasion possibilities. After a some- 
what gloomy forecast in March, they 
reported in April that if one did not have 
to consider the dangerous weakening of 
the defenses of the United Kingdom, and 
if they could find means of supplying an 
attacking force, an operation against the 
Continent was practicable. They warned, 
however, that if the enemy made a major 
diversion of his forces to the west the Allies 
would face the loss of equipment and most 
of their troops. The British Chiefs of Staff 
now asked for a study of possible landings 
which could be made should Russia be 
dangerously hard pressed in 1942. To this 
query the Commanders replied on 13 
April that, other than air action, raiding 
was the only means of achieving this 
objective. 5 

Shortly before the final April report by 
the Combined Commanders, General 
Marshall and Mr. Hopkins went to Lon- 
don to discuss Allied strategy for 1942 and 
1943. In the first definite plan for a large- 
scale cross-Channel operation presented to 
the British Chiefs of Staff, General Mar- 
shall proposed to build up the U.S. force 
to one million men for an invasion of the 
Continent on 1 April 1943. The British 
were to contribute an additional eighteen 
divisions. In case of an emergency created 
by a serious weakening of Russia or the 
probable collapse of Germany, a force was 
to be put in readiness to enter the Conti- 
nent in the fall of 1942. The British on 14 



April accepted the Marshall proposals. 
The name Bolero was given to the build- 
up preparation, and names of plans al- 
ready in existence for the return to the 
Continent were assigned to the other 
phases of the Marshall proposal. The 
emergency return to the Continent was 
named Sledgehammer, and the assault in 
northwest Europe for 1943 was called 
Roundup. 

Almost before the Americans returned 
to the United States, there were indica- 
tions that Mr. Churchill was uncertain 
that a cross-Channel operation could be 
put into effect in the near future. Churchill 
and General Brooke reopened the whole 
question during a trip to Washington in 
late June. While agreeing with the U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff that the Allies should be 
prepared to act offensively in 1942, they 
proposed that alternative operations be 
made ready in case no sound and success- 
ful plan for the cross-Channel attack could 
be contrived. They asked particularly that 
the possibilities of an attack in North 
Africa be explored. 6 

The Prime Minister's revival of the pro- 
posal for a North African operation and 
his reluctance to undertake the cross- 
Channel attack in 1942 upset the plans of 
the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, who were proceed- 
ing with the build-up in the United King- 
dom. General Marshall felt that if the 
Allies did not divert enemy forces from the 
Russian front in 1942 a full-scale attack on 
northwest Europe might be ineffective in 
1943. He feared also that if they turned to 
the North African operation they would 
make a build-up in the United Kingdom 
impossible in 1942 and would curtail, if 

5 McLaren, The Story of Sledgehammer. 

6 Such an operation had already been considered 
under the name of Operation Gymnast. 



PLANNING BEFORE SHAEF 



101 



not make impossible, the full-scale attack 
in 1943. He and Admiral King held that, 
if they were not to have complete adher- 
ence to the build-up plan for 1942, they 
should turn to the Pacific theater and 
strike decisively against Japan with full 
strength and ample reserves. 7 

The U.S. Chiefs of Staff on 25 June 
strengthened their build-up efforts in the 
United Kingdom by establishing a Head- 
quarters, European Theater of Opera- 
tions. General Eisenhower was appointed 
theater commander. Three weeks later the 
President sent General Marshall, Admiral 
King, and Mr. Hopkins to London to get 
an agreement from the British on opera- 
tions for 1942 and 1943. Mr. Roosevelt 
stressed the importance of bringing U.S. 
ground troops into action against the en- 
emy in order to aid the Russians in 1942. 
Believing that Sledgehammer might be 
the operation that would "save Russia this 
year," he instructed his representatives to 
abandon it only if they were sure it was 
impossible. In that event, they were to 
consider other plans to use U.S. troops in 
1942. Unlike General Marshall and Ad- 
miral King, Roosevelt refused to consider 
the alternative of an all-out effort in the 
Pacific, insisting that the defeat of Japan 
would not mean the defeat of Germany, 
whereas the surrender of Germany would 
mean the downfall of Japan, perhaps with- 
out the firing of a shot or the loss of a life. 8 

The British Chiefs of Staff had taken a 
firm position on the cross-Channel oper- 
ation before the Americans arrived. They 
had decided that British commitments in 
Africa, the Middle East, and India, their 
efforts in keeping the sea lanes open, and 
their air activities were such that it would 
be impossible to undertake a cross-Chan- 
nel attack seriously in 1942. Further, they 
feared that the mounting of Sledgeham- 



mer would ruin prospects for Roundup in 
1943. Soon after General Marshall 
reached London he realized that an alter- 
native plan would have to be accepted for 
1942. Mr. Churchill and President Roose- 
velt then decided that the Allies would 
invade North Africa. General Eisenhower 
was appointed to lead the operation. 9 

The North African invasion, known as 
Torch, strongly influenced preparations 
for the cross-Channel attack. By diverting 
Allied resources to the Mediterranean, it 
interfered seriously with the Bolero 
build-up in the United Kingdom and, as 
General Marshall had feared, rendered 
Roundup impracticable in 1943. So much 
of the air strength of the Eighth U.S. Air 
Force was sent to the Mediterranean that 
its efforts against Germany, begun in the 
summer of 1942, were virtually aban- 
doned. The British, however, continued 
their bombing activities against the Reich. 
The campaign in the Mediterranean was 
extended in 1943 to Sicily and to Italy. 

Despite the failure to get a cross-Chan- 
nel attack under way, preparations for 
such an operation continued and many 
developments in the United Kingdom and 
the United States strengthened the Allied 
position for an ultimate assault on north- 
west Europe. Until the spring of 1943, the 
Combined Commanders, with representa- 
tives of Headquarters, ETOUSA, sitting 
in on their meetings, worked on cross- 



7 Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 590-9 1 , has 
an excellent summary of possible reasons why Mr. 
Churchill opposed a cross-Channel attack in 1942. See 
also Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack. For General Mar- 
shall's view, see his letter to General Eisenhower, 16 
Jul 42, OPD Misc File. 

8 Presidential dir to Marshall, Hopkins, and King, 
16 Jul 42, copy in Diary Office CinC, 18 Jul 42. 

9 Churchhill, The Hinge of Fate (Boston, 1950), pp. 
38 1, 433-5 1 ; Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, p. 70. 



102 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Channel plans. 10 Although planning 
during this period was frequently on an 
academic level, the various staffs gathered 
information on amphibious operations, as- 
sault training centers developed new tech- 
niques, and movements and transportation 
directors put ports and railroad centers in 
condition to handle the invasion forces 
when the proper time came. At the same 
time bombing raids against the enemy 
were increasing, and U.S. production was 
hitting its stride. 

The period was marked by efforts in the 
United Kingdom to organize and aid Re- 
sistance forces in the occupied countries. 
Propaganda campaigns were launched 
against the Axis in the hope of softening 
enemy opposition before the invasion of 
northwest Europe began. In North Africa, 
the Allies moved toward an understand- 
ing with the French and took steps to arm 
French units. Some of these were to per- 
form brilliantly against the enemy in Italy. 
Others, raised and equipped in 1943, were 
to fight later in southern France and 
northwest Europe. 

In August 1942, while Torch prepara- 
tions were under way, a force of 5,000 
troops, mostly Canadian, attacked Dieppe. 
Despite heavy casualties suffered by these 
units, the raid was of great importance to 
the Allies in the development of amphib- 
ious tactics. It made clear the necessity of 
overwhelming naval and air support for a 
successful assault on coastal fortifications. 11 

Perhaps most important to the future 
commanders of the cross-Channel attack 
was the time they gained during Mediter- 
ranean operations in 1942 and 1943 to 
develop new doctrines and to train leaders 
in the lessons learned in battle. New ideas 
acquired in fighting were passed on to 
units then being activated. 

In the United Kingdom, the training of 



troops who were to fight in northwest 
Europe became constantly more realistic 
as General Paget, commander of Home 
Forces, prepared British soldiers for com- 
ing operations. In the United States, Lt. 
Gen. Lesley J. McNair, equally wedded to 
principles of toughness, thoroughness, and 
realism in training, put through a similar 
program for his Ground Forces. More im- 
portant was the direct training in combat 
acquired in North Africa. To Mr. Hanson 
Baldwin, New York Times military com- 
mentator, North Africa was "a training 
and testing ground, a college on the con- 
duct of war by the Allies, a dress rehearsal 
for the far larger and more difficult oper- 
ations . . . that are still to come." 12 

Allied Planning and Preparation in 1943 

In January 1943, after the first phases 
of the North African operations had 
proved successful, the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff met with President Roosevelt and 
Mr. Churchill at Casablanca to map plans 
for the future. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff 
held that the main operation in 1943 must 
be made in northwest Europe. The British, 
still uncertain that the Allies were capable 
of mounting a successful cross-Channel 
assault before 1944, maintained that the 
Mediterranean offered the best immediate 
prospects for success. General Marshall 
argued that the United Kingdom was a 
better base from which to attack since 
more effective air support could be given 
from there, and operations from there 
could be more easily supplied from the 

10 In the absence of General Eisenhower, his deputy 
theater commander, Maj. Gen. Russell P. Hartle, 
acted as chief American representative in the United 
Kingdom. 

11 Col C. P. Stacey, The Canadian Army, 1939-45 
(Ottawa, 1948), pp. 83-86. 

12 New York Times, May 12, 1943. 



PLANNING BEFORE SHAEF 



103 



United States. 13 The British countered 
effectively that the Allies could not afford 
to leave their forces in the Mediterranean 
idle while preparations were being made 
in the United Kingdom for a cross-Chan- 
nel operation. In the face of this fact and 
the British disinclination to undertake 
Roundup in 1943, the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff decided to make the invasion of Sicily 
(Operation Husky) the next major oper- 
ation for 1943. 14 

The Allies agreed at Casablanca to start 
preparations for an eventual cross-Chan- 
nel attack. They decided that a combined 
staff should be established to plan for such 
an operation, and they ordered further 
that a combined bomber offensive be 
launched against Germany to undermine 
the enemy's capacity for armed resistance. 
The former decision resulted, as already 
indicated, in the naming of General Mor- 
gan to head the COSSAC staff. The deci- 
sion on an air offensive resulted in the 
directive of 10 June 1943 officially opening 
the bombing offensive known as Point- 
blank. 

In a second conference, held in Wash- 
ington in May 1943, the Combined Chiefs 
of Staff issued a supplementary directive 
to General Morgan, ordering him to plan 
an operation with a target date of 1 May 
1944 to secure a lodgment area on the 
Continent from which further operations 
could be launched. The plan was to be 
based on the presence in the United King- 
dom of twenty-nine divisions, of which 
nine were available for the assault period. 
COSSAC was ordered to start an imme- 
diate expansion of logistical facilities in the 
United Kingdom and to prepare an out- 
line plan for submission to the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff on 1 August 1943. 15 

After working on the plan throughout 
June and the first half of July, General 



Morgan and his staff presented it to the 
British Chiefs of Staff on 15 July 1943. The 
COSSAC planners set forth the conditions 
under which the attack (Overlord) could 
be made, the area where a landing would 
be feasible, and the steps whereby the as- 
sault would be developed. 16 As a means of 
aiding the assault, General Morgan asked 
that the most effective threat possible be 
made on the south coast of France in order 
to pin down German forces in that area. 
He also suggested that plans be made for 
the occupation of the ports of southern 
France in case of German withdrawal 
from that region. 17 

Before leaving London for the Quebec 
Conference in August 1943 the British 
Chiefs of Staff examined the Overlord 
plan and instructed General Morgan to 
continue his planning, paying particular 
attention to the enemy's power to delay 
the Allied advance. After examining alter- 
native plans, the Combined Chiefs of Staff 
approved the COSSAC outline plan for 
the cross-Channel operation and endorsed 
the action of the British Chiefs of Staff in 
authorizing General Morgan to continue 
detailed planning and preparations. They 
also directed Allied Force Headquarters 
to plan a diversionary attack in southern 
France. Prime Minister Churchill ac- 
cepted the Overlord plan subject to the 
warning that a review of the decision 
would be asked if later intelligence reports 
indicated that German ground or air 
strength was greater than that anticipated 



13 CCS 55th Mtg, 14 Jan 43, Casablanca Conf Min. 

14 CCS 2d Mtg with President and Prime Minister, 
1 8 Jan 43, Casablanca Conf Min. 

15 Draft Supplementary Dir to COSSAC, 25 May 
43, Washington Conf Min. 

16 See below, pp. 105-06, for more complete 
details. 

17 Opn Overlord, Rpt and Appreciation, COS 
(43) 416 (0), SHAEF SGS Opn Overlord 381 I (a). 



104 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



by the planners in estimating the possible 
success of the operation. 18 

The Combined Bomber Offensive 
began almost simultaneously with 
COSSAC planning. The outline plan for 
it was endorsed by the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff, who directed the Eighth U.S. Air 
Force and the RAF Bomber Command to 
initiate the bomber attack against the 
enemy. 

British bomber forces since 1940 had 
made an increasing number of raids over 
Germany, and the Eighth U.S. Air Force 
had joined them in these activities in the 
summer of 1942. Before the Casablanca 
Conference, however, the raids had been 
carried on without a definite statement as 
to the priorities of targets, the mission to 
be accomplished, or the timing of the com- 
bined activities. The Combined Bomber 
Offensive was an attempt to integrate and 
expand the British and U.S. bombing 
efforts against Germany. At Casablanca 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff specified that 
the purpose of the operation would be 
"the progressive destruction and disloca- 
tion of the German military, industrial 
and economic systems, and the under- 
mining of the morale of the German 
people to a point where their capacity for 
armed resistance is fatally weakened." At 
the same meeting and in later conferences, 
Allied planners had agreed that the target 
priorities should include the following as 
primary objectives: enemy submarine 
yards and bases, the German aircraft in- 
dustry, ball bearings, and oil. Secondary 
objectives included synthetic rubber and 
tires and military motor transport vehicles. 
German fighter strength was listed "as an 
intermediate objective second to none in 
priority." 19 

The late summer and early fall of 1943 
saw increasing interest of the COSSAC 
staff in one of its initial tasks — planning 



for a return to the Continent in case of 
German collapse or withdrawal from the 
occupied countries. A plan to meet this 
situation had been presented to the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff at the Quebec Con- 
ference. The march of events in August 
and early September, indicating growing 
Axis weakness, gave rise to the hope that 
such a plan rather than one for an all-out 
cross-Channel assault might be the one 
used by the Allies. The fall of Mussolini 
near the end of July, the rapid conquest of 
Sicily in August, and Italy's unconditional 
surrender at the beginning of September 
seemed to indicate that the Axis was dis- 
integrating under Allied blows. On the 
Eastern Front there was even greater en- 
couragement as the Russian attack, which 
began in the Orel salient in July, spread 
along the entire front. A powerful drive in 
the vicinity of Kharkov brought the fall of 
that city in mid-August and threw the 
Germans back toward the Dnieper. The 
air battle increased in intensity with Au- 
gust witnessing Allied attacks on the Mes- 
serschmitt factories near Vienna and the 
raid on the Ploesti oilfields in Romania. 
The month of September was to see the 
greatest air fights in Europe since the 
Battle of Britain. On 9 September, the day 
of the Allied invasion of the Italian main- 
land at Salerno, the Joint Intelligence 
Sub-Committee of the War Cabinet, im- 
pressed by the parallels between the con- 
dition of Germany in August 1918 and 
August 1943, concluded that "a study of 
the picture as a whole leads us inevitably 
to the conclusion that Germany is, if any- 
thing, in a worse condition today than she 

18 1st and 2d Mtgs of President and Prime Minister, 
19, 23 Aug 43, Quebec Conf Min. 

19 Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces, Vol. II, 
Ch. 1 1; Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, Ch. VI. Useful 
background on British bombing operations can be 
found in Sir Arthur Harris, Bomber Offensive (New 
York, 1947), Chs. I- VII. 



PLANNING BEFORE SHAEF 



105 



was at the same period in 1918." They be- 
lieved that if the Allies could take advan- 
tage of Germany's declining strength to 

press home attacks by land and sea; maintain 
and even intensify their air offensives; exploit 
the instability of southeast Europe; and pur- 
sue a vigorous political and propaganda cam- 
paign, we may see the defection of the rest of 
Germany's European Allies and, even before 
the end of this year, convince the German 
people and military leaders that a continua- 
tion of the war is more to be feared than the 
consequences of inevitable defeat. With the 
German people no longer willing to endure 
useless bloodshed and destruction, and the 
military leaders convinced of the futility of 
resistance there might be, as in Italy, some 
sudden change of regime to prepare the way 
for a request for an Armistice. 20 

Although this prediction proved to be 
nothing more than what one British officer 
described as "our annual collapse of Ger- 
many prediction," 21 it required the 
COSSAC staff to rush planning for meas- 
ures to be taken in the case of enemy col- 
lapse. A report in October that a meeting 
of the German high command had been 
called gave rise to hopeful speculation in 
London, leading General Barker to cable 
General Morgan in Washington, "We 
here are of the opinion that Rankin 'C' [a 
plan to be put into effect in case of Ger- 
many's surrender] becomes more and 
more of a probability." 22 

As winter approached, the Allies be- 
came less hopeful about an early collapse 
of the enemy. It became clear that the 
enemy, despite increasingly heavy raids, 
was able to continue his production of air- 
craft by moving factories farther inside 
Germany. Near the year's end, the 
enemy's fighter force in the west was actu- 
ally increasing in strength. There was also 
some doubt that the Combined Bomber 
Offensive could complete its work before 
the target day set for the cross-Channel 
attack, particularly in the light of Air 



Chief Marshal Portal's statement in early 
December 1943 that Pointblank was 
three months behind schedule. The air- 
men believed, nonetheless, that given suf- 
ficient bomber resources they could rapidly 
reduce the enemy's air force to impotence 
and achieve air superiority for the Allies. 23 
At the Cairo Conference in December 
1943, the Combined Chiefs of Staff 
reached a firm conclusion as to operations 
for 1944. They declared that the cross- 
Channel attack and the landings in south- 
ern France were to be the supreme opera- 
tions for 1 944 and that nothing should be 
undertaken in any other part of the world 
which might prevent their success. The 
Allies thus made Overlord the chief order 
of business for the coming year. The ap- 
pointment of General Eisenhower as 
Supreme Commander opened the final 
phase of preparations for the cross-Chan- 
nel assault. 24 

The COSSAC Plans 

On their arrival in London in 1944, the 
new members of SHAEF were briefed on 
the plans outlined by COSSAC in 1943. 
In one case, that of diversion plans, 
COSSAC had actually carried out a spe- 
cific operation. Under the general name of 
Cockade, British and United States forces 
had built up threats against the Continent 
to give the impression that an attack 
might be launched in 1943. U.S. forces 
had made feints in the direction of the 



20 Probabilities of a German Collapse, 9 Sep 43, JIC 
(43) 367 Final, OPD Exec 9, Bk 12. 

21 Intervs with Commodore John Hughes-Hallett, 
11, 12 Feb 47. 

22 Barker to Morgan, 20 Oct 43, Barker personal 
file. See below, p. 106, for description of the Rankin 
plan. 

23 Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces, Vol. II, 
Ch. 2 1 ; Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, Ch. VI. 

24 Report to the President and Prime Minister, CCS 
426/1, 6 Dec 43, Cairo ConfMin. 



106 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Brest peninsula (Wadham), British forces 
in Scotland had simulated preparations 
for attack against Norway (Tindall), and 
Allied forces had directed threats toward 
the Pas-de-Calais (Starkey). It was not 
clear to what extent these efforts had been 
successful in worrying the enemy, but 
General Morgan felt that they might have 
been responsible to some degree for Ger- 
man activity in the Pas-de-Calais and the 
Cotentin area. It is possible that these ef- 
forts raised fears about landings in the Pas- 
de-Calais which lasted until well into the 
following year. 25 

COSSAC had also prepared three plans, 
all phases of Operation Rankin (Cases A, 
B, and C), designed to be put into effect in 
the event of a sudden change in Germany's 
position. The plans provided for Allied ac- 
tion in case of (A) "substantial weakening 
of the strength and morale of the German 
armed forces" to the extent that a success- 
ful assault could be made by Anglo-Amer- 
ican forces before Overlord, (B) German 
withdrawal from occupied countries, and 
(C) German unconditional surrender and 
cessation of organized resistance. 26 

The newcomers from AF HQ were in- 
terested at the moment mainly in 
COSSAC's proposals for the invasion of 
northwest Europe. The Overlord plan 
related in somewhat broad terms the steps 
necessary for making a successful assault, 
for building up supply and personnel in 
the lodgment area, and for carrying on op- 
erations during the first ninety days of bat- 
tle. Although it was quite general in 
nature, the plan afforded much valuable 
information in a series of appendixes deal- 
ing with such topics as port capacities, 
naval requirements, availability of ships 
and landing craft, availability of ground 
forces, attainment of the necessary air 
superiority for a successful landing, plan- 
ning data for landing craft and shipping, 



rate of build-up, Resistance groups, enemy 
naval forces, enemy defense system, 
beaches, meteorological conditions, topog- 
raphy of the assault area, administrative 
considerations, and methods of improving 
discharge facilities on the French coast. 27 

The Overlord plan had as its object 
the mounting and executing of "an opera- 
tion with forces and equipment established 
in the United Kingdom, and with target 
date 1st May 1944, to secure a lodgment 
on the Continent from which further of- 
fensive operations can be developed." In 
the opening phases of the attack COSSAC 
proposed to land two British and one U.S. 
divisions with one U.S. and one British in 
the immediate follow-up to seize the Caen 
area, lying between the Orne River and 
the base of the Cotentin peninsula. They 
were then to seek the early capture of the 
port of Cherbourg and the area suitable 
for airfields near Caen. Before the assault, 
a combined offensive consisting of air and 
sea action, propaganda, political and eco- 
nomic pressure, and sabotage was to be 
launched to soften German resistance. 28 

Much remained to be done by the new 
Supreme Headquarters, but COSSAC 
and its predecessors had contributed 
mightily to the final plan by fixing in gen- 
eral the area of the coming attack and by 
providing considerable groundwork and 
organization on which the new Supreme 
Commander and his subordinates could 
build. 



25 Maj Duncan Emricfi and Maj F. D. Price, His- 
tory of COSSAC, prep at SHAEF, 1945, MS. For Ger- 
man fears of an attack in the Pas-de-Calais in 1944 see 
below, p. 180. 

26 Final Rpt to President and Prime Minister, CCS 
319/5, 24 Aug 43, Quebec Conf Min. 

27 Details of the COSSAC plan and amendments 
made by later planners will be found in Harrison, 
Cross-Channel Attack, Chs. II, V. 

28 Opn Overlord, Rpt and Appreciation with ap- 
pendixes, and covering letter, SHAEF SGS Opn 
Overlord 381 I (a). 



CHAPTER VI 



SHAEF Revises Plans for 
the Attack 



In the months between the Quebec 
Conference and General Eisenhower's for- 
mal assumption of the Supreme Com- 
mand, COSSAC handed over to the 
commanders of the 21 Army Group, the 
Allied Naval Expeditionary Force, and 
the Allied Expeditionary Air Force many 
of the detailed planning tasks for Opera- 
tion Overlord. General Morgan retained 
for SHAEF, however, numerous adminis- 
trative duties in addition to specific re- 
sponsibilities for problems of a political or 
strategic nature. Most important, SHAEF 
advice was required on those broad ques- 
tions of policy which had to be decided by 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff. 

General Eisenhower, after relinquishing 
command of the Mediterranean theater in 
December 1943, went to Washington for 
conferences relative to the cross-Channel 
operation. To represent him in the United 
Kingdom until his arrival, the Supreme 
Commander sent his chief of staff, General 
Smith, and the newly appointed com- 
mander of 21 Army Group, General 
Montgomery. Before the British com- 
mander arrived in London on 2 January, 
his chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Francis de 
Guingand, and General Smith had exam- 
ined the COSSAC plan for Overlord and 
were prepared to present their views to the 
21 Army Group commander. Their reac- 
tions, which General de Guingand thought 



similar to those "of any trained soldier," 
favored a greater weight of assault forces, 
a quicker build-up, a larger airlift, and a 
less restricted area of landing. General 
Eisenhower was informed of these views by 
General Smith and General Montgomery 
before he left Washington. Montgomery 
was particularly insistent that General 
Eisenhower take personal action, saying 
that no final decision would be made until 
the Supreme Commander expressed his 
wishes, and asking, "Will you hurl your- 
self into the contest and what we want, get 
for us?" 1 

SHAEF now concentrated on means of 
strengthening the cross-Channel attack. 
All planning groups that had considered 
the Overlord operation were impressed 
by the fact that the Allies in the assault 
faced a potential enemy opposition far 
superior to the number of troops that could 
be landed in a few hours or days. Despite 
the great force located in the United King- 
dom, the success of the operation depended 
on the number of men who could be landed 
in the assault waves and on the speed with 
which follow-up forces could be brought 
ashore and supplied. To gain the margin of 
victory, the Allies would have to limit the 

1 Maj. Gen. Sir Francis de Guingand, Operation Vic- 
tory (New York, 1947), pp. 340-44; Montgomery to 
Eisenhower, W-4918, 10 Jan 44, SHAEF SGS 560 
[Vessels]. 



108 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



movement of enemy reinforcements into 
the beachhead, capture ports rapidly, and 
prepare artificial harbors that would serve 
until natural ones could be seized. The 
earlier planners had foreseen these needs 
and had done what they could to prepare 
for them. But not until the commanders 
responsible for the actual battle were ap- 
pointed was a completely realistic ap- 
praisal of the situation possible. A number 
of problems confronted the Supreme Com- 
mander in preparing for the cross-Channel 
attack: broadening the assault front, pro- 
curing additional landing craft, making 
better use of available landing craft, drop- 
ping or landing more airborne units, in- 
creasing naval fire support, and insuring 
the isolation of the beachhead by increased 
air operations. 

Strengthening and Widening the Assault 
and the Postponement of ANVIL 

As soon as the outline plan for Over- 
lord was presented, the need for a wider 
invasion front and a stronger force than 
recommended by COSSAC in July 1943 
was widely recognized. While suggesting a 
landing by three divisions in the assault 
and two divisions in the follow-up in the 
Caen area, the COSSAC planners had 
added that additional forces would be 
valuable in the cross-Channel attack. 
Churchill, Marshall, and Hopkins on see- 
ing the COSSAC proposals at the Quebec 
Conference all declared that the assault 
should be strengthened. Similar state- 
ments were made by General Smith in 
October 1943 when General Morgan told 
him in Washington of the plan, and by 
General Eisenhower about the same time 
in Algiers when he was informed by 
Brig. Gen. William E. Chambers, a 
COSSAC staff member, of the essential 



provisions of the plan. Although Eisen- 
hower and Smith did not realize the roles 
they were later to play in the Overlord 
operation, they expressed surprise at the 
weakness of the attacking force, inasmuch 
as they had used greater strength in the 
Sicilian landings. At the end of October, 
General Eisenhower, then being talked of 
as a possible commander of the cross- 
Channel attack, stated his doubts about 
the plan because it did not have "enough 
wallop in the initial attack." 2 

Mr. Churchill showed General Mont- 
gomery a copy of the COSSAC plan at 
Marrakech on 1 January 1944. The 21 
Army Group commander also found the 
invasion front too narrow and the assault 
force too small. He was told to examine 
the COSSAC plan in detail when he went 
to the United Kingdom and to recom- 
mend changes necessary to the success of 
the operation. 3 

Before General Montgomery arrived in 
London on 2 January 1944, his chief of 
staff and the SHAEF chief of staff had ex- 
amined the Overlord plan and were pre- 
pared to recommend a widening of the as- 
sault area. When the 21 Army Group 
commander was briefed in London on 3 
January, he took strong exception to the 
narrowness of the proposed assault area. 
Pointing vigorously at various points of the 



2 Interv with Smith, 9 May 47. Eisenhower Memo 
for Diary, 8 Feb 44; Eisenhower to Marshall, 8 Feb 
44. Both in Diary Office CinC. General Eisenhower's 
statement as to the lack of "wallop" was made to Cap- 
tain Butcher on 28 October 1943, Diary Office CinC. 
For earlier views on the size of the invasion forces by 
General Eisenhower, see CCS, 58th Mtg, 16 Jan 43, 
Casablanca Conf Min; Mtg of JCS with President, 16 
Jan 43; Algiers Conf Min, 29, 31 May 43. 

3 Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery, Normandy 
to the Baltic (New York, 1948), pp. 5-6. Cf. de Guin- 
gand, Operation Victory, p. 338; Eisenhower, Crusade 
in Europe, p. 2 1 7 . See also Diary Office CinC, 1 6 Jan 
44, 8 Feb 44. 



SHAEF REVISES PLANS FOR THE ATTACK 



109 



map on both sides of the Cotentin, in the 
areas of Dieppe, Le Havre, and Brest, he 
said, "We should land here and here." He 
also raised for the first time the proposal 
that Operation Anvil, the landing in 
southern France, be dropped except as a 
threat in order that landing craft ear- 
marked for Anvil could be diverted to 
Overlord. General Smith, while privately 
of the opinion that a threat in the south of 
France would be as effective in the early 
stages of the cross-Channel attack as the 
proposed full-scale assault, declined to ac- 
cede to the proposal until General Eisen- 
hower could examine it. 4 

General Montgomery again stressed the 
need of broadening the assault front in his 
meeting with the British and U.S. army 
commanders on 7 January 1944. Speaking 
as a representative of the Supreme Com- 
mander, he insisted on changes in the 
COS SAC plan to strengthen the landing 
and follow-up forces. He no longer recom- 
mended landings around Le Havre or 
Brittany, but suggested an area from "Var- 
reville on the east coast of the Cotentin to 
Cabourg west of the Orne" — approxi- 
mately the same sector recommended by 
the Combined Commanders in March 
1943. In order to permit the armies and 
corps to go in on their own fronts, he pro- 
posed a change in command arrangements 
by which a British army and a U.S. army 
would control the assault corps, thus re- 
quiring 2 1 Army Group instead of First 
U.S. Army to exercise command on D 
Day. The U.S. army on the right would 
capture Cherbourg and the Cotentin 
peninsula and subsequently develop op- 
erations to the south and west, while the 
British army would operate "to the south 
to prevent any interference with the 
American army from the East." 5 

Generals Montgomery and Smith in- 



formed General Eisenhower and Mr. 
Churchill that there must be a stronger 
Overlord even at the expense of Anvil. 
The Prime Minister reminded President 
Roosevelt that he had always hoped "the 
initial assault at Overlord could be with 
heavier forces than we have hitherto main- 
tained." The case for strengthening Over- 
lord at the expense of Anvil was also sup- 
ported by General Morgan who held that 
landings in the south of France could do 
little more than pin down three or four di- 
visions of German mobile reserves, an ef- 
fect which could be achieved as well by 
a threat. He believed the existing strategic 
conception involved "an unsound diver- 
sion of forces from the main 'Overlord' 
[assault] area to a subsidiary assault area, 
where they [were] unlikely to pay the same 
dividend." His views were reinforced two 
days later by a request from Air Chief 
Marshal Leigh- Mallory, Admiral Ram- 
say, and General Montgomery for half of 
Anvil's two-divisional lift. 

The British Chiefs of Staff were not con- 
vinced at the moment of the wisdom of 
weakening or dropping the Anvil opera- 
tion. Admiral Cunningham believed that 
a landing in southern France would 
almost certainly force the diversion of 
enemy forces to that area, and Air Chief 
Marshal Portal declared that possession of 
the ports in southern France would in- 
crease the rate of build-up of U.S. forces 
on the Continent. When, however, on 12 



1 De Guingand, Operation Victory, pp. 340-44, tells 
of the work done by General Smith and himself. 
Brigadier McLean, who briefed Montgomery on the 
COSSAC plan, gave the author on 1 1 March 1947 a 
summary of the discussion. For Smith's view, see 
Smith to Eisenhower, W-9389, 5 Jan 44, Eisenhower 
personal file. 

5 21 Army Group Memo, "Notes taken on meeting 
of army commanders and their chiefs of staff at Head- 
quarters, 21 Army Group, 7 Jan 44," OCMH files. 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 




January the Joint Planning Staff reported 
the feasibility of reducing the Anvil as- 
sault to a diversionary attack, Field Mar- 
shal Brooke and Air Chief Marshal Portal 
agreed that the operation should not be 
permitted to stand in the way of Over- 
lord's success. Admiral Cunningham, on 
the other hand, was reluctant to accept 
this view, pointing out in addition to other 
arguments that grave difficulties would be 
raised with the French who had intended 
that the bulk of their forces should partici- 
pate in the southern landing. 6 The British 
Chiefs of Staff on 14 January informed 
the Prime Minister that the ideal arrange- 
ment would be a stronger Overlord and 
a two- or three -division Anvil. 7 

General Eisenhower on his arrival in 



London was thus faced with the necessity 
of changing the plan for the assault and of 
securing the reallocation of resources in- 
tended for an operation in a theater other 
than his own. He promptly apprised Gen- 
eral Marshall of his problems, assuring the 
U.S. Chief of Staff that he considered a 
serious reduction in the southern France 
operation justified only as a last resort. 
Since General Eisenhower's headquarters 



5 Memo, Morgan for Br COS, 6 Jan 44, Reply to 
JPS Questionnaire on Implications of Proposed Modi- 
fication of Operation Overlord, 8 Jan 44; Br COS 
5 th Mtg, 7 Jan 44; Rpt of JPS on Anvil-Overlord. 
12 Jan 44; Br COS 10th Mtg, 13 Jan 44. Ail in 
SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Opn From Mediterranean in 
Support of Overlord, I. 

7 Br COS to Prime Minister, 14 Jan 44, Eisenhower 
personal file. 



SHAEF REVISES PLANS FOR THE ATTACK 



111 



in the Mediterranean had prepared both a 
diversionary plan for southern France in 
the fall of 1943 and the Anvil outline plan 
as directed by the Cairo Conference at the 
end of the year, the Supreme Commander 
was aware of the importance of the Anvil 
operation to the cross-Channel attack. He 
not only desired the southern France op- 
eration to draw away Germans from the 
Overlord area, but held that the land- 
ings should be made in order to keep the 
promise given the Russians at Tehran, to 
utilize French forces scheduled for com- 
mitment in Anvil, and to make the best 
possible use of Allied forces in the Medi- 
terranean. 8 

While stressing the value of preserving 
Anvil, the Supreme Commander empha- 
sized the critical importance of a stronger 
Overlord attack. On 23 January, he for- 
mally proposed that the number of divi- 
sions in the initial assault be increased 
from three to five. This meant that to the 
two British divisions and one U.S. division 
which COSSAC planned to land in the 
Caen area, there would be added a British 
division west of Ouistreham and a U.S. 
division on the east coast of the Cotentin. 
Besides an airborne landing in the Caen 
area, General Eisenhower wanted an air- 
borne division to seize the exit from the 
Cotentin beaches, with a second airborne 
division to follow within twenty-four hours. 
This revised plan naturally required addi- 
tional landing craft, naval fire support, 
and aircraft, with particular emphasis on 
LST's, LCT's, 9 and troop carrier aircraft. 
Believing that Overlord and Anvil 
should be viewed as "one whole," the 
Supreme Commander said that an ideal 
plan would include a five-division Over- 
lord and a three-division Anvil. He 
agreed, however, that if forces were not 
available for both assaults priority should 



go to Overlord. As the date for the attack 
he preferred 1 May, but he was willing to 
accept a postponement if that would se- 
cure additional strength for the op- 
eration. 10 

The British Chiefs of Staff, who together 
with the Prime Minister had become in- 
creasingly dubious over the prospects of 
launching Anvil simultaneously with 
Overlord, 11 promptly agreed that the 
cross-Channel attack should be given 
overriding priority. They also asked for 
postponement of the invasion until the end 
of May or the beginning of June in order 
to increase the chance that the Russian 
attack would have begun on the Eastern 
Front, and to gain an extra month's pro- 
duction of landing craft. The U.S. Chiefs 
of Staff, still insistent on a two-division 
Anvil, accepted the postponement of the 
target date to a time not later than 31 
May. 12 

While the Allied planners were seeking 
means to mount the Overlord and An- 
vil operations simultaneously, military 
events in Italy were working against their 
efforts. The Allies had launched an opera- 
tion on 22 January 1944 at Anzio in the 
hope that their forces could shortly take 
Rome and drive northward to put addi- 
tional pressure on the enemy. The Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff had thought that 



8 Montgomery to Eisenhower, W-4918, 10 Jan 44, 
SHAEF SGS 560 [Vessels], II; Eisenhower to Mar- 
shall, 1 7 Jan 44, Eisenhower personal file. 

9 Landing Ship, Tank, and Landing Craft, Tank. 
"Eisenhower to Marshall, W-9856, 22 Jan 44; 

Eisenhower to CCS, B-33, 23 Jan 44, Eisenhower per- 
sonal file. 

11 Admiral Cunningham still held that his col- 
leagues perhaps underestimated the value of even a 
weak Anvil on the enemy. Br COS 21st Mtg, 24 Jan 
44, COS (44) Min. 

12 Br COS to JSM, COS (W) 1094, 26 Jan 44; JSM 
to Br COS, JSM 1478, 1 Feb 44, SHAEF SGS 560 
[Vessels], II. 



112 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



landing craft allocated to the attack at 
Anzio would be needed for only a short 
time and would then be available for the 
Overlord and Anvil operations. After a 
hopeful beginning, the Allied forces met 
stiffened German resistance and deter- 
mined counterattacks which forced them 
to use units intended for Anvil. Continu- 
ance of the beachhead battle prevented 
release of precious landing craft. The Brit- 
ish, lukewarm toward Anvil, argued that 
the enemy decision to fight in Italy tied up 
divisions which would otherwise have 
been available for use against Overlord 
and thus served the diversionary purpose 
for which Anvil was intended. They held 
that the strategic situation in the Mediter- 
ranean had changed since the Cairo 
Conference and should be re-examined. 13 
Thus far in the discussion of plans for 
widening the assault area, the Anvil op- 
eration had been mentioned merely as an 
attack which must be weakened or post- 
poned in order to get additional support 
for Overlord. About 1 February, debate 
over the landings in southern France en- 
tered a new phase. Apparently encouraged 
by the fact that the Italian fighting was 
creating a diversion of German units from 
the area of the cross-Channel attack, Mr, 
Churchill on 4 February opened a strong 
onslaught against Anvil as a desirable op- 
eration. He declared that as a result of the 
distance between the areas in which 
Overlord and Anvil were to be 
launched, the ruggedness of the terrain 
which Allied forces from the south of 
France would have to cover in a move 
northward, and the defensive strength of 
modern weapons which would oppose 
them, the Anvil operation was not "stra- 
tegically interwoven with Overlord." At 
his suggestion, the British Chiefs of Staff 
proposed that Anvil "as at present 



planned" be canceled and that the Medi- 
terranean commander be directed to sub- 
mit plans for the use of his forces to contain 
the maximum number of enemy troops in 
his theater. They believed that a shift of 
landing craft intended for Anvil to Over- 
lord would meet the full requirements of 
the cross- Channel attack, which would 
then be made ready by the first week in 
June. 14 General Eisenhower, who still 
wanted the Anvil operation, now con- 
cluded that developments in Italy created 
the possibility that forces there could not 
be disentangled in time to put on a strong 
operation in southern France. Privately, 
he expressed the doubt that Anvil 
and Overlord could be launched 
simultaneously. 15 

Although the unfavorable progress of 
the Anzio operation gave some basis for 
the British proposal to cancel Anvil, the 
U.S. Chiefs of Staff viewed the suggestion 
with suspicion. They saw in the proposed 
cancellation the continuation of what they 
described as the British policy of pushing 
operations in the Mediterranean at the ex- 
pense of the cross-Channel attack. At the 
Washington Conference in May 1943, 
General Marshall had warned that opera- 
tions in the Mediterranean would swallow 
the men and landing craft intended for the 
main operation in northwest Europe. He 
had agreed to the operation in Sicily be- 
cause it seemed that no other use could be 
made of the forces in the Mediterranean at 
the moment. Salerno had followed, and 



13 Minute, Ismay for Churchill. 2 Feb 44, SHAEF 
SGS 370.2/2 Opn From Mediterranean in Support of 
Overlord, I. 

14 35th Mtg, 4 Feb 44, COS (44), SHAEF SGS 
370.2/2 Opn From Mediterranean in Support of 
Overlord, I; Br COS to JSM, 4 Feb 44, COS (W) 
1 126, COS (44) Min. 

15 Eisenhower to Marshall, W- 10786, 6 Feb 44, 
Eisenhower personal file; Diary Office CinC, 7 Feb 44. 



SHAEF REVISES PLANS FOR THE ATTACK 



113 



then Anzio, and now it appeared that 
more demands would be made on re- 
sources earmarked for Overlord. The 
Chief of Staff felt so strongly about the 
matter that, while agreeing to the cancel- 
lation of Anvil if the Supreme Com- 
mander thought it essential to strengthen 
Overlord, he expressed fear that the 
British Chiefs of Staff might be influenc- 
ing General Eisenhower's views. "I merely 
wish," he added, "to be certain that local- 
itis is not developing and that pressure on 
you has not warped your judgment." 16 

The imputation of "localitis" to the 
Supreme Commander's views emphasized 
the difficulty of General Eisenhower's po- 
sition throughout the Anvil controversy. 
As a tactical commander desiring to 
strengthen the Overlord operation, he 
was sometimes receptive to proposals 
which the U.S. Chiefs of Staff opposed. He 
defended himself vigorously in this case 
against the suggestion of British influence, 
pointing out that he had advocated a 
broader front since the Overlord plan 
was first explained to him in October 
1943 and insisting that he always fought 
for the preservation of the Anvil opera- 
tion. 17 

American skepticism regarding the 
British stand was due in part to the con- 
viction that sufficient resources were pres- 
ent in Europe to provide a seven-division 
lift of personnel and an eight-division lift 
of vehicles. This the U.S. Chiefs of Staff 
believed to be adequate for both the 
Overlord and Anvil operations. Neither 
the British nor the SHAEF planners 
agreed with the estimate, which they be- 
lieved to be based on a faulty analysis of 
the number of men and vehicles that 
could be carried under combat conditions. 
In an effort to settle this disagreement and 
the whole problem of Anvil, the Prime 



Minister invited the U.S. Chiefs of Staff to 
London to discuss the matter. They sug- 
gested instead that General Eisenhower 
act as their direct representative with the 
British, and they sent as his technical ad- 
visers Rear Adm. Charles M. Cooke, Jr., 
and Maj. Gen. John E. Hull. 

Throughout February General Eisen- 
hower attempted to find enough landing 
craft for both operations. The British and 
SHAEF planners stuck to their view that 
under combat conditions the landing craft 
available would not carry the number of 
soldiers and vehicles which the U.S. repre- 
sentatives showed mathematically the 
craft could hold. The technical observers 
from the United States were not im- 
pressed, one of them reporting that the 
British had no interest in Anvil, since they 
believed that Overlord was "the only 
one that will pay us dividends." 18 

In an effort to meet General Eisen- 
hower's wishes to save Anvil, the SHAEF 
planners in mid-February came up with 
a plan to increase the size of loads and 
make more efficient use of the landing 
craft already available. General Mont- 
gomery, who believed that the landing 
craft allotment for Overlord was already 
too scanty, initially objected to the pro- 
posal on the ground that it would "com- 
promise tactical flexibility, introduce 
added complications, bring additional 
hazards into the operations, and thus gen- 
erally endanger success." After discussing 

16 JSM to Br COS, JSM 1494, 6 Feb 44; Marshall 
to Eisenhower, 78, 7 Feb 44. Both in SHAEF SGS 
370.2/2 Opn From Mediterranean in Support of 
Overlord, I. At one point during this period, the 
U.S. Chiefs of Staff asked the British not to discuss 
certain points with General Eisenhower before he had 
a chance to give Washington his opinion. 

17 Eisenhower to Marshall, W- 10786, 8 Feb 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 

18 Gen Hull to Gen Handy, 15 Feb 44, SHAEF SGS 
560 [Vessels], II. 



114 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



the matter with General Eisenhower, and 
with Air Chief Marshal Leigh- Mallory 
and Admiral Ramsay, who agreed with 
some reluctance to accept the SHAEF 
proposal, General Montgomery withdrew 
his opposition. General Eisenhower now 
reported to the British Chiefs of Staff that 
by making sacrifices and accepting every 
possible risk it would be possible to launch 
the strengthened Overlord and at the 
same time save the two-division Anvil op- 
eration. He admitted, however, that in the 
light of developments in Italy it might no 
longer be practicable to undertake the 
landings in southern France. Encouraged 
by this admission the British Chiefs of Staff 
called attention to the opportunity of 
"bleeding and burning German divisions" 
as a result of Hitler's decision to fight south 
of Rome, and argued that it would be 
"wholly unjustifiable to keep any forma- 
tion out of Italy on the ground that it was 
going to be required for Anvil." They pro- 
posed to the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, therefore, 
that the existing state of uncertainty be 
ended and Anvil canceled immediately. 19 
The U.S. Chiefs of Staff, informed by 
their technical advisers in London that the 
Anvil operation was possible if the British 
would attempt it, held to the view that the 
landings in southern France should be 
made. They were willing, however, if the 
situation had not improved in Italy by 1 
April, to review the situation in the Medi- 
terranean and then decide if Anvil should 
be postponed. Arrangements made by 
General Eisenhower were to be supported 
by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, subject to the 
approval of the President. That there 
should be no doubt of his reaction, the 
President directed Admiral Leahy to re- 
mind the Supreme Commander that the 
United States was committed to a third 
power (Russia) and that he did not feel the 



Western Allies had any right to abandon 
the commitment for Anvil without taking 
the matter up with that third power. 20 

The Supreme Commander's position 
thus became increasingly difficult as he 
attempted to decide what was best for him 
as the commander of Overlord and also 
tried to present as strongly as possible the 
U.S. arguments. His embarrassment was 
shown particularly in the discussions with 
the British Chiefs of Staff on 22 February. 
Speaking officially for the U.S. Chiefs of 
Staff, he opposed cancellation of Anvil 
until the last possible moment for decision. 
He added that the U.S. Chiefs of Staff did 
not necessarily regard Anvil as an opera- 
tion involving an eventual use of two divi- 
sions in the assault and ten divisions in the 
build-up, although they did want a two- 
division assault force in the Mediter- 
ranean. He felt they would accept as ful- 
fillment of the commitment at Tehran a 
diversionary operation on the largest scale 
possible after the Mediterranean theater 
had met the requirements of the campaign 
in Italy. 21 

The British Chiefs of Staff agreed to 
continue Anvil planning under the inter- 
pretations given by General Eisenhower 
provided the Italian campaign received 
"overriding priority over all existing and 
future operations in the Mediterranean to 
contain the maximum number of the en- 
emy." They asked that the situation be 

19 For the detailed debate over loadings and the 
efforts to increase the use of the available craft, see 
Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, Ch. V. Montgomery to 
Eisenhower, 16 Feb 44, SHAEF SGS 560 [Vessels], 
II; 5th Mtg, 18 Feb 44, Min SAC's Conf. Memo, 
Eisenhower for Br COS, 19 Feb 44; COS (44) 52d 
Mtg, 19 Feb 44; Br COS to JSM, COS (W) 1156,19 
Feb 44. All in SHAEF SGS 381 Overlord-Anvil, I. 

20 JCS to Eisenhower, 153, 21 Feb 44; JCS to Eisen- 
hower, 151, 21 Feb 44; Leahy to Eisenhower, 154, 21 
Feb 44, Eisenhower personal file. 

21 54th Mtg, 22 Feb 44, COS (44). 



SHAEF REVISES PLANS FOR THE ATTACK 



115 



reviewed on 20 March and that if Anvil 
was found to be impracticable all craft in 
excess of the lift for one division should be 
moved from the Mediterranean. This pro- 
posal was accepted by the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff and approved by the 
President and Prime Minister. 22 

The decision of 26 February marked a 
retreat by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff from 
their positive stand for a strong Anvil to a 
tentative agreement that a decision would 
be suspended. The operation was left at 
the mercy of developments in Italy which, 
at the time of the agreement, were becom- 
ing increasingly unfavorable to the mount- 
ing of Anvil. Gen. Sir Henry Maitland 
Wilson, Supreme Commander in the 
Mediterranean, had reported on 22 Feb- 
ruary that continuous attacks by the en- 
emy since the 16th of the month had 
inflicted heavy casualties and contributed 
to the exhaustion of his troops. He found it 
difficult to withdraw forces needed for An- 
vil, and recommended cancellation of the 
landings in southern France. This sugges- 
tion seemed to make more likely the drop- 
ping of the Anvil operation, but nearly a 
month's delay ensued before a decision 
was reached. Pressed by his commanders 
for a prompt decision, General Eisenhower 
suggested that he might get action by 
cabling General Marshall that Anvil was 
impossible. General Smith, although fa- 
voring the postponement of Anvil, felt this 
action was not necessary and would give 
the impression that they were changing 
their minds too quickly. The Supreme 
Commander agreed that Admiral Ramsay 
should inform the Mediterranean com- 
mander which ships he intended to with- 
draw from that area if Anvil was canceled 
on 21 March. Nearly a month before the 
final review, the SHAEF planners clearly 
had little doubt that plans for landings in 



southern France simultaneously with 
Overlord would have to be canceled. 23 
A new element was introduced into 
planning for Mediterranean operations at 
the end of February when General Alex- 
ander requested additional craft for his 
troop movements, thus upsetting the time- 
table for the transfer from the Mediter- 
ranean of certain craft earmarked for 
Overlord. The British had now gone 
beyond suggesting that Anvil be canceled 
as a means of aiding Overlord to propos- 
ing that landing craft be withheld from 
Overlord in order to insure the success of 
operations in Italy. To get immediate aid 
for operations there, they requested that 
LST's in the Mediterranean be left there, 
and be replaced in the Overlord build- 
up with landing craft dispatched directly 
from the United States. The U.S. Chiefs 
of Staff agreed to delay the movement of 
craft from the Mediterranean, but op- 
posed sending additional craft to that area 
until a decision was made on Anvil. This 
compromise afforded the means of saving 
the southern France operation, but it cre- 
ated a new problem for General Eisen- 
hower. The effort to keep Anvil alive, he 
stated flatly, had created a situation which 
was "actually militating strongly against 
the plans and preparations for Over- 
lord." He saw nothing in the Italian situ- 
tion which indicated "an increase in the 
likelihood of Anvil on the two division- 
ten division basis." On the contrary, he 
believed it would be necessary to draw on 



22 COS to JSM, 23 Feb 44, reproduced as CCS 
465/11, 24 Feb 44, CCS files; CCS to Eisenhower, 
FACS 13, 26 Feb 44, Eisenhower personal file; JSM 
to Br COS, JSM 1538, 25 Feb 44, SHAEF SGS 381 
Overlord- Anvil, I. 

23 Wilson to Br COS, MEDCOS 41, 22 Feb 44, 
SHAEF SGS 381 Overlord-Anvil, I; 6th Mtg, 26 
Feb 44, Min of SAC's Conf. 



116 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



landing craft intended for Anvil for the 
minimum lift for Overlord. 24 

By the time set for reviewing the situ- 
ation in the Mediterranean, Generals 
Eisenhower and Wilson had agreed that 
landing craft in that area should be re- 
duced to a one-division lift. General Wilson 
wanted these craft to support intensive 
operations up the mainland of Italy, while 
General Eisenhower asked merely that 
everything possible be done by threat, 
feint, and actual operations to keep enemy 
troops in the Mediterranean area. Yield- 
ing to the logic of the situation in Italy, 
and to General Eisenhower's view that 
"Anvil as we originally visualized it is no 
longer a possibility either from the stand- 
point of time in which to make all neces- 
sary preparations or in probable avail- 
ability of fresh and effective troops at the 
appointed time," the U.S. Chiefs of Staff 
agreed that Anvil must be delayed. The 
British Chiefs of Staff gained only a part 
of their wish. Instead of the cancellation of 
Anvil which they recommended, they re- 
ceived a counterproposal that a two-divi- 
sion invasion of southern France be made 
on 10 July 1944. The Americans were 
willing to underwrite this operation by di- 
verting LST's and LCT's earmarked for 
the Pacific on the hard and fast condition 
that the British agree "that preparation 
for the delayed Anvil will be vigorously 
pressed and that it is the firm intention to 
mount this operation in support of Over- 
lord with the target date indicated." 25 

The strong U.S. demand for a positive 
guarantee of an Anvil operation in July as 
a price for more landing craft in the Medi- 
terranean was compared by Field Mar- 
shal Brooke to the "pointing of a pistol," 
as he indicated his unwillingness to give 
assurances for operations four or five 
months in the future. General Eisenhower 



reminded the British Chief of the Imperial 
General Staff that, in view of the pressure 
of U.S. opinion and Congress for greater 
activity in the Pacific, General Marshall 
had made substantial concessions by 
agreeing to divert craft intended for the 
Pacific to the Mediterranean. Aware that 
General Marshall had softened his de- 
mands for Anvil to "some sizable opera- 
tion of the nature of Anvil," General 
Eisenhower suggested that the U.S. Chiefs 
of Staff might be persuaded to accept a 
British reservation to postpone until July 
a decision as to the place of attack. Thus 
reassured, the British suggested that Gen- 
eral Wilson be instructed to prepare not 
only a plan for Anvil, but also alternative 
plans for containing the maximum num- 
ber of Germans in Italy if the enemy con- 
tinued to fight there. 26 

Dissatisfied with the British reluctance 
to name a definite target date, the U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff asked for a decision. The 
British then submitted a revised directive 
for General Wilson which was acceptable 
save for a provision giving priority to 
Italian operations over Anvil. The Ameri- 
cans declared themselves "shocked" to see 
"how gaily" the British "proposed to ac- 
cept their legacy while disregarding the 
terms of the will," and they refused to 
divert craft to the Mediterranean on the 
basis of the new proposal. Mr. Churchill 

24 Wilson to WO, 28 Feb 44; Wilson to Br COS, 29 
Feb 44, SHAEF SGS 381 Overlord-Anvil, I; Br 
COS to JSM, COS (W) 1 184, 1 Mar 44; JSM to Br 
COS, JSM 1558, 4 Mar 44, SHAEF SGS 560 [Ves- 
sels], III; Eisenhower to Marshall, B-245, 9 Mar 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 

25 Eisenhower to Marshall, 2 1 Mar 44; JSM to Br 
COS, JSM 1594, 24 Mar 44. Both in SHAEF SGS 
381 Overlord- Anvil, I. 

26 12th Mtg, 27 Mar 44, Min of SAC's Confs; Mar- 
shall to Eisenhower, W-1407 8, 25 Mar 44, Eisen- 
hower personal file; Br COS to JSM, COS (W) 1241, 
28 Mar 44, SHAEF SGS 38 1 Overlord-Anvil, I. 



SHAEF REVISES PLANS FOR THE ATTACK 



117 



now joined the discussion. He urged the 
continuance of operations then under way 
in Italy to join the Anzio bridgehead with 
the main forces and asked postponement 
of the decision on whether to go all out for 
Anvil or exploit the victory in Italy. Such 
an option would not exist unless the LST's 
intended for the Pacific were diverted to 
the Mediterranean. General Marshall de- 
clared that the choice depended on start- 
ing Anvil preparations immediately. The 
United States, he explained, could not 
stop the momentum it had started in the 
Pacific "unless there was assurance that 
we are to have an operation in the effec- 
tiveness of which we have complete faith." 
This development distressed General 
Eisenhower. While agreeing that the U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff must take a firm stand, he 
regarded the decision not to divert craft 
intended for the Pacific to the Mediter- 
ranean as a "sad blow" for Overlord. 27 

The British met the situation with a 
directive that neither fixed a target date 
nor mentioned additional landing craft. 
This tentative solution was accepted by 
Washington on 18 April, and on the fol- 
lowing day the Combined Chiefs of Staff 
directed General Wilson to: (a) launch as 
early as possible an all-out offensive in 
Italy, (b) develop the most effective threat 
possible to contain German forces in 
southern France; and (c) make plans for 
the "best possible use of the amphibious 
lift remaining to you, either in support of 
operations in Italy, or in order to take ad- 
vantage of opportunities arising in the 
south of France or elsewhere for the fur- 
therance of your objects and to press for- 
ward vigorously and whole-heartedly with 
all preparations which do not prejudice 
the achievement of the fullest success in 
(a) above." 28 

The directive to General Wilson was 



at best a temporary solution which settled 
nothing definitely in the Mediterranean. 
The chief effect of the three-month discus- 
sion, so far as it concerned Overlord, was 
in the gain of additional lift for the initial 
assault at the expense of postponing An- 
vil, which had been designed to aid the 
Normandy landings. In the opinion of the 
U.S. Chiefs of Staff, the loss of the effect 
of Anvil on D Day was compensated for 
only slightly by operations which might be 
carried out on the Italian mainland. They 
hoped, therefore, to get a positive agree- 
ment that Anvil would be launched early 
enough in the summer of 1944 to aid the 
Overlord operations. The British on 
their side had succeeded in postponing an 
operation which they feared would inter- 
fere with Allied activities in Italy, and had 
left the way open for further advance on 
the Italian mainland. The failure to settle 
Mediterranean strategy before the Over- 
lord D Day presaged further controversy 
between the British and U.S. Chiefs of 
Staff, added further complications to the 
Overlord operation, and increased the 
perplexities of the Supreme Commander. 
For the moment, however, he was able to 
breathe more easily in the assurance that 
landing craft essential to the five-division 
assault which had been accepted in early 
February would actually be diverted from 
the Mediterranean in time. 



27 Handy to Eisenhower, W-16455, 31 Mar 44, 
Handy to Eisenhower, W-18619, 5 Apr 44, SHAEF 
SGS 381 Overlord-Anvil, I; JSM to Chiefs of Staff, 
FMD 183, 1 Apr 44, OPD Misc File; Prime Minister 
to Dill for Marshall, 1895, 12 Apr 44, SHAEF SGS 
370.2/2 Opn From Mediterranean in Support of 
Overlord, I; Marshall to Eisenhower, W-22810, 14 
Apr 44, Eisenhower personal file; Diary Office CinC, 
18 Apr 44. 

28 Dir, CCS to Gen Wilson, COSMED 90, 19 Apr 
44, SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Opn From Mediterranean 
in Support of Overlord, I. 



118 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Increase of Airborne Units in the Assault 

General Montgomery's proposals for 
increasing the width of the assault area 
included a landing by U.S. forces on the 
Cotentin peninsula. Both he and General 
Bradley agreed that this action was neces- 
sary to the early capture of the vital port 
of Cherbourg. The landing was made haz- 
ardous, however, by the nature of the 
terrain at the neck of the Cotentin. 
Marshy lands on either side of the Caren- 
tan estuary separated the areas in which 
the two main bodies of U.S. forces were to 
land. Worse still, the exits from the beaches 
of the eastern Cotentin were restricted to 
causeways along a flooded area. The Al- 
lied planners decided, therefore, that air- 
borne drops in the Cotentin peninsula 
were essential in order to seize the cause- 
ways and prevent the enemy from destroy- 
ing them, to prevent the enemy from send- 
ing reinforcements to Cherbourg, and to 
aid in the link-up with U.S. forces to the 
east. To carry out these plans, General 
Montgomery asked for two airborne divi- 
sions, in addition to the airborne division 
already earmarked for action east of Caen 
in the British sector. 29 

After considering these proposals for a 
time, Air Chief Marshal Leigh- Mallory, 
the Allied Expeditionary Air Force com- 
mander, announced his opposition. With 
the aircraft then allotted, he said, a second 
division could not be dropped until 
twenty -four hours after the initial landing. 
He was especially concerned over losses 
which glider forces would take both be- 
cause of the unsatisfactory landing fields 
in the area and because of the heavy anti- 
aircraft fire he thought they would face. 30 

Backing for a greater use of airborne 
forces promptly came from both London 
and Washington. Mr. Churchill, "not at 



all satisfied" at the report that a lift existed 
for only one airborne division, asked Gen- 
eral Eisenhower for a statement of the 
maximum number of these divisions he 
wished to launch simultaneously in the D- 
Day attack. The Supreme Commander at 
once requested two airborne divisions in 
the initial attack with a third to follow 
twenty-four hours later. In the face of a 
cautious report from the chief of the air 
staff that the lack of trained crews made it 
impossible to furnish simultaneous lift for 
two airborne divisions, General Eisen- 
hower reduced his demands. He asked for 
not less than "one airborne division and one 
regimental combat team (brigade ) of a second 
airborne division, with sufficient depth to 
enable a second division to be dropped 
complete 24 hours later." 31 

The Prime Minister, concerned because 
the Supreme Commander's request for 
two airborne divisions was not being met, 
pressed the question at a War Cabinet 
meeting on 8 February. Portal warned 
that further increases in the lift would 
lower the quality of the forces. Leigh- 
Mallory added that, in view of the bottle- 
neck which existed in the training of troop 
carrier crews, he thought it impossible to 
"increase the initial force by one more 
pilot." Disappointed at the list of difficul- 
ties and objections, Mr. Churchill asked 
that further studies be made on increasing 
the production of additional airlift. The 
discussion encouraged General Eisenhower 



29 Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic, p. 8; Brad- 
ley, A Soldier's Story, pp. 232-34. 

30 3d Mtg, 24 Jan 44, Min of SAC's Confs, SHAEF 
SGS 387/1 1; Bradley, A Soldier's Story, p. 234. 

31 SHAEF file COS (44) 96 (O), 29 Jan 44; COS 
(44) 135 (O), 6 Feb 44; Memo, Smith for Br COS, 7 
Feb 44, sub: Airborne Forces for Overlord, SHAEF 
SGS 373/2 Employment of Airborne Forces in Opn 
Overlord, I. Quotation with italics from Smith 
memo. 



SHAEF REVISES PLANS FOR THE ATTACK 



119 



to hope that he would get at least his 
minimum demand. 32 

While the Allied airmen struggled with 
the problem of increasing the airborne lift 
to one and two-thirds divisions, Generals 
Marshall and Arnold proposed an even 
greater use of airborne troops than that 
asked by General Eisenhower and his 
commanders. Arnold was disturbed be- 
cause Eisenhower's staff spoke only of 
assigning airborne forces tactical missions 
in the rear of the enemy lines. He felt that 
this would put them down in the midst of 
enemy reserve units. He proposed instead 
the use of airborne forces in mass (four to 
six divisions) some distance beyond the en- 
emy lines where they could strike at 
German reinforcements and supplies. 33 

General Marshall shared many of Gen- 
eral Arnold's beliefs. During the period 
when he had been thought of for the post 
of Supreme Commander, he had consid- 
ered ways of properly exploiting air power 
in combination with ground troops and 
had determined to make better use of air- 
borne forces even if, in the event of British 
opposition to his ideas, he had to carry 
them out exclusively with U.S. troops. 
During this period General Arnold had 
directed airborne specialists to prepare 
plans for General Marshall's use. In Feb- 
ruary 1944 Marshall sent members of his 
staff to London to explain these projects 
to the SHAEF planners. Of three pro- 
posals, he preferred one for the establish- 
ment of an airhead in Normandy gener- 
ally south of Evreux which would require 
an initial drop of two airborne divisions 
by D plus 2, and the landing by glider of 
an infantry division by D plus 6. 34 He 
believed this scheme, designed to divert 
the enemy from the bridgehead and pose 
an alternative strategic thrust, constituted 
a true vertical envelopment and would 



create a strategic threat strong enough to 
make the enemy revise his defense plans 
considerably. 35 

General Eisenhower said that he could 
not accept the Air Force proposal. He de- 
sired to commit the initial airborne forces 
in a manner that would permit their re- 
grouping for other tactical purposes and 
would give them ground mobility in their 
early operations. While approving the 
conception of a mass vertical envelopment, 
he believed that it could come only after 
the beachhead had been gained and a 
striking force built up. He insisted that the 
Allies first had to get firmly established on 
the Continent and then seize a good shel- 
tered harbor. Next, he wanted to make 
certain that no significant part of the Al- 
lied forces was in a position where it could 
be isolated and defeated in detail. Air- 
borne troops that landed too far from 
other forces would be immobile until they 
could be reached by ground forces. The 
Supreme Commander recalled in this con- 
nection that the landings at Anzio had run 
into difficulties when the enemy, seeing 
that the Allied thrust "could not be imme- 
diately translated into mobile tactical action," 
had attacked instead of withdrawing. 36 

32 SHAEF file COS (44) 40th Mtg (O), 8 Feb 44; 
Ltr, Eisenhower to Marshall, 9 Feb 44, Eisenhower 
personal file. 

33 Arnold, Global Mission , pp. 520-21. 

34 The other two included: (1) the use of airborne 
troops in three groups to block the movement of hos- 
tile reserves as then located, which he rejected as 
placing too few men at critical points, and (2) the es- 
tablishment of an airhead near Argentan to seize air- 
fields and restrict hostile movements, which he op- 
posed as failing to constitute a major strategic threat 
to the enemy. 

35 Marshall to Eisenhower, 1 Feb 44, Eisenhower 
personal file; Arnold, Global Mission , pp. 520-21; Mtg 
at Hq 2 1 A Gp to discuss revised airborne plan for 
Opn Neptune, 18 Feb 44, SHAEF SGS 373/2 Em- 
ployment of Airborne Forces in Opn Overlord, I. 

^ 6 Eisenhower to Marshall, 19 Feb 44, Eisenhower 
personal file. 



120 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



General Eisenhower continued with an 
exposition of the factors on which the 
existing airborne plan was based and 
which, he believed, compelled the Allies 
to visualize airborne operations "as an im- 
mediate tactical rather than a long-range 
adjunct of landing operations." Noting 
that General Marshall had complained 
that the only trouble with the plan for the 
strategic use of airborne force "is that we 
have never done anything like this before, 
and frankly, that reaction makes me 
tired," the Supreme Commander pro- 
claimed that he himself was loath "ever to 
uphold the conservative as opposed to the 
bold." He promised to study the War De- 
partment ideas carefully "because on one 
point of your letter I am in almost fanati- 
cal agreement — I believe we can lick the 
Hun only by being ahead of him in ideas 
as well as in material resources." 37 

Generals Montgomery and Bradley 
agreed with General Eisenhower's views 
on the airborne proposals. The First Army 
commander argued that nothing should 
be allowed to deflect the Allies from the 
early capture of Cherbourg, and the 21 
Army Group commander proposed that 
any additional airborne resources be used 
to hold the enemy away from Caen. 38 
General Marshall in sending the delega- 
tion to SHAEF to explain the plans for the 
use of airborne troops had concluded, 
"Please believe that, as usual, I do not 
want to embarrass you with undue pres- 
sure." General Eisenhower thus felt free to 
disregard the strategic employment of air- 
borne forces for the moment and to press 
for their tactical use in the initial assault. 39 

The problem of getting additional air- 
lift for the attack was linked, like the ques- 
tion of finding more landing craft, to the 
Allied decision on Anvil. If the invasion 
of southern France was undertaken simul- 



taneously with Overlord, it would re- 
quire all available airlift in the Mediter- 
ranean theater. The decision to postpone 
Anvil helped to ease the situation. The 
planners in April set up a drop of the para- 
chutists of the U.S. 82d and 101st Air- 
borne Divisions in the Cotentin, and all 
but one battalion of the British 6th Air- 
borne Division in the Caen area. 

Provisions for an augmented airborne 
attack met increased pessimism from 
Leigh- Mallory. Because of the great im- 
portance attached to dropping three para- 
chute regiments in the Ste. Mere-Eglise- 
Carentan area, he accepted the plan for 
dropping parachutists, but with reluc- 
tance. Losses to troop-carrier aircraft and 
gliders, he warned General Montgomery, 
were likely to be so high and the chance of 
success was so slight that glider operations 
could not be justified. The Allied Expedi- 
tionary Air Force commander advised 
General Eisenhower that the operation in 
its existing form violated official airborne 
doctrine on several counts and repeated 
many of the mistakes of the Sicilian cam- 
paign. In view of General Bradley's con- 
viction, backed by General Montgomery, 
that the Cotentin landings should not be 
attempted without airborne operations, 
General Eisenhower decided to continue 
plans for both parachute and glider 
attacks. 40 

The airborne plans were further com- 
plicated in late May when the enemy was 

37 Eisenhower to Marshall, 19 Feb 44, Eisenhower 
personal file. 

38 Mtg at 21 A Gp, 18 Feb 44, SHAEF SGS 373/2 
Employment of Airborne Forces in Opn Overlord, i. 

39 Marshall to Eisenhower, 10 Feb 44, Eisenhower 
personal file. 

40 Ltr, Leigh-Mallory to Montgomery, 23 Apr 44; 
Ltr, Leigh-Mallory to Eisenhower, 23 Apr 44. Both 
in SHAEF SGS 373/2 Employment of Airborne 
Forces in Opn Overlord, I. Eisenhower Memo dtd 
22 May 44, Diary Office CinC, 23 May 44. 



SHAEF REVISES PLANS FOR THE ATTACK 



121 



discovered to be reinforcing the area where 
the 82d Airborne Division planned to 
drop. This intelligence required a change 
in the drop zones, which increased the 
difficulties for the glider units. Air Chief 
Marshal Leigh- Mallory, gravely con- 
cerned over this development, warned the 
Supreme Commander that it was proba- 
ble that "at the most 30 per cent of the 
glider loads will become effective for use 
against the enemy." He concluded that 
the operation was likely "to yield results 
so far short of what the Army C-in-C ex- 
pects and requires that if the success of the 
seaborne assault in this area depends on 
the airborne, it will be seriously preju- 
diced." 41 

General Eisenhower was aware of the 
dangers faced by the airborne forces and 
agreed with Leigh- Mallory as to the na- 
ture of the risks involved. He found it nec- 
essary nonetheless to heed the requests of 
his ground force commanders. The air- 
borne operation, he decided, was essential 
to the whole operation and "must go on." 
"Consequently," he concluded, "there is 
nothing for it but for you, the Army Com- 
mander and the Troop Carrier Com- 
mander to work out to the last detail every 
single thing that may diminish these 
hazards." 42 

The Revised Plan 

The initial Overlord plan which 
SHAEF and the other Allied headquar- 
ters examined at the beginning of 1944 
underwent many changes in the five 
months that followed. While the high- 
level questions of widening the assault 
area and strengthening the attack force 
came directly to the Supreme Commander 
and required his intervention with the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff, other Allied 



commanders were working out the exact 
details by which the operation was to be 
made effective. As early as 1 February 
1944, the Allied naval commander, the 
Allied Expeditionary Air Force com- 
mander, and the Commander-in-Chief, 2 1 
Army Group, had issued an Initial Joint 
Plan as the basis of planning by subordi- 
nate commanders. Detailed planning for 
ground forces was handed over to Second 
British Army and First U.S. Army, while 
naval and air plans were to be worked out 
by Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary 
Air Force, and Allied naval headquar- 
ters. 43 

At every level the emphasis was on 
strengthening the assault. Plans to this end 
included increased air operations to de- 
stroy rail and highway communications 
into the beachhead area, heavier naval 
fire support to destroy the beach fortifica- 
tions that would oppose the invading 
force, and augmented ground and air- 
borne assault and follow-up forces to 
achieve the initial objectives quickly and 
establish a firm beachhead capable of re- 
sisting the most desperate enemy counter- 
attacks. In many of these efforts, the 
planners at army, corps, or divisional level 
were able to work out their problems with- 
out calling on the Supreme Commander. 
When they did ask for help, they received 
it without stint. Less than a month after 
his arrival in London, General Eisenhower 
had written General Marshall that from 
D Day until D plus 60 the operation 



41 Ltr, Leigh-Mallory to SAC, 29 May 44, SHAEF 
SGS 393/2 Employment of Airborne Forces in Opn 
Overlord, I. 

42 Ltr, Eisenhower to Leigh-Mallory, 30 May 44, 
SHAEF SGS 373/2 Employment of Airborne Forces 
in Opn Overlord, I. 

43 Neptune Initial Joint Plan by ANCXF, AEAF, 
and 21 A Gp, 1 Feb 44, as revised 2 Mar 44, SHAEF 
files. 



122 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



would absorb everything the Allies could 
possibly pour into it. 44 It was a warning he 
let neither the British nor the U.S. Gov- 
ernment forget. 

By the end of May 1944, the initial 
COSS AC plan had been changed from an 
attack by three infantry divisions and part 
of an airborne division in the assault, plus 
two in the follow-up in the area between 
the Orne and the base ofthe Cotentin, to 
an attack by five infantry divisions and 
elements of three airborne divisions in the 
assault, plus two follow-up forces — already 
afloat-in an area some fifty miles wide 



between the east coast of the Cotentin and 
the Orne. To put these forces ashore, the 
number of landing craft and naval ships 
had been heavily reinforced both from the 
Mediterranean and from the United 
States. To make certain that the enemy 
could not readily reinforce the assault area 
with men and supplies, a strengthened 
tactical and strategic air program was 
being developed to wreck the railway and 
highway communications leading into 
northwest France. 

44 Eisenhower to Marshall, W-10786, 8 Feb 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 



CHAPTER VII 



SHAEF's Air Problems, 
January— June 1944 



Before General Eisenhower could put 
into effect the preparatory air plans for the 
Overlord attack, he found it necessary to 
deal with a number of problems relating 
to air command, the employment of stra- 
tegic air forces, and measures to be used 
against enemy long-range rockets and 
pilotless aircraft. COS SAC had tried to 
settle some of these matters earlier, but 
had found, as in the case of landing craft 
and additional divisions for the assault, 
that it was necessary to wait until the Su- 
preme Commander was appointed to get 
action. 

Problems of Command 

The Combined Chiefs of Staff in No- 
vember 1943 had postponed a decision on 
the command of the strategic air forces in 
Overlord. The delay had arisen in part 
because the British were unwilling to hand 
over control of their bombers for Over- 
lord until a time nearer the assault. They 
feared that measures might be taken 
which would diminish the effect of the 
combined bombing offensive against Ger- 
many. They were also anxious that 
nothing be done to affect the program of 
bombing rocket-launching sites or to re- 
move forces of the Coastal Command from 
British control. There appeared to be even 
stronger feeling — shared by U.S. bomber 



commanders — against entrusting the 
bombers to Air Chief Marshal Leigh-Mal- 
lory, whose war experience had been in 
the Fighter Command.' 

This last point of opposition stressed a 
problem which had confronted General 
Eisenhower since his arrival in the United 
Kingdom. He personally would have pre- 
ferred Air Chief Marshal Tedder as chief 
Allied air commander for Overlord, and 
he had made such a recommendation be- 
fore Tedder was chosen Deputy Supreme 
Commander. Eisenhower was influenced 
by the fact that Tedder, as his air deputy 
in the Mediterranean, was aware of the 
problems involved in the air support of 
ground troops. Near the end of December 
the Supreme Commander had noted the 
importance of having a few senior officers 
with such experience. "Otherwise," he 
warned, "a commander is forever fighting 
with those airmen who, regardless of the 
ground situation, want to send big bomb- 
ers on missions that have nothing to do 
with the critical effort." While admitting 
that "a fighter commander of the very 
highest caliber" like Leigh-Mallory would 
be badly needed in the battle, he deplored 
the tendency "to freeze organization so 
that the commander may not use trusted 



Diary Office CinC, 29 Feb, 22 Mar 44. 



124 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



and superior subordinates in their proper 
spheres. ..." 2 

General Eisenhower initially approached 
the British with "long and patient explain- 
ing" to show that he had no great interest 
in controlling the Coastal Command, no 
possible desire to diminish the bombing of- 
fensive against Germany, and no intention 
of permitting the big bombers to be mis- 
used on targets for which they were not 
suited. Toward the end of February he be- 
came more insistent in his requests that 
RAF Bomber Command be placed under 
his control. The Prime Minister, however, 
desired to keep this command independent 
of SHAEF or at least to limit the number 
of bombers under the Supreme Com- 
mander. General Eisenhower at length de- 
clared that, inasmuch as the U.S. air force 
in the United Kingdom, which was larger 
than that of the British, had been given to 
the Supreme Commander, he could not 
face the U.S. Chiefs of Staff if the British 
withheld their bomber force. During the 
period of discussion General Eisenhower 
declared that if the British were for any- 
thing less than an all-out effort for the 
cross-Channel attack he would "simply 
have to go home." The Prime Minister 
near the end of February agreed to accept 
any agreement that Portal and Eisen- 
hower found satisfactory. 3 

Apparently in an effort to overcome 
what he believed to be the Prime Minis- 
ter's reluctance to place strategic air forces 
under Leigh-Mallory, General Eisen- 
hower said on 29 February that he was 
prepared to exert direct supervision of all 
air forces through Tedder. Under this ar- 
rangement Air Chief Marshal Tedder 
would be the directing head of all Over- 
lord air forces with Leigh-Mallory, 
Spaatz, and Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur 
T. Harris, Commander, RAF Bomber 



Command, operating on a co-ordinate 
plane. Air Chief Marshal Leigh- Mallory's 
position would be unchanged so far as as- 
signed forces were concerned, but those 
attached for definite periods or tasks would 
not be placed under his command. 4 

On 9 March Chief of the Air Staff Por- 
tal, in consultation with Air Chief Mar- 
shal Tedder, produced a draft agreement 
on the use of the strategic air forces which 
General Eisenhower described as "exactly 
what we want." To still any lingering fears, 
the Supreme Commander formally ac- 
cepted intervention by the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff if they wished to impose ad- 
ditional tasks on the bomber forces, or by 
the British Chiefs of Staff if the require- 
ments for the security of the British Isles 
were not fully met. Tedder was to co-or- 
dinate operations in execution of the 
Overlord strategic air plan, and Leigh- 
Mallory was to co-ordinate the tactical air 
plan under the supervision of Tedder. It 
was understood that, once the assault 
forces had been established on the Conti- 
nent, the directive for the employment of 
strategic bombing forces was to be revised. 5 

The draft agreement was passed on to 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff in mid- 
March. In presenting it, the British Chiefs 
of Staff declared that when the air pro- 



2 Eisenhower to Marshall, 17 Dec 43; Eisenhower 
to Marshall, W-8550, 25 Dec 43. Both in Eisenhower 
personal file. Diary Office CinC, 29 Feb, 3 Mar 44. 
The latter entry contains a memorandum by the Su- 
preme Commander explaining the problems which 
faced him on his arrival in London. 

3 Diary Office CinC, 3, 1 1, 22 Mar 44.. 

4 Memo, Eisenhower for Tedder, 29 Feb 44, Diary 
Office CinC. 

5 Diary Office CinC, 29 Feb, 3 and 1 1 Mar 44. Ltr, 
Portal to Eisenhower, 9 Mar 44; Br COS to JSM, 13 
Mar 44; CCS Memo, Control of Strategic Bombing 
for Overlord, 27 Mar 44. All in SHAEF SGS 373/1 
Policy re: Control and Employment of USSTAF and 
Bomber Command. 



SHAEF'S AIR PROBLEMS, JANUARY-JUNE 1944 



125 



gram developed by the Supreme Com- 
mander for the support of the cross-Chan- 
nel operation had been approved jointly 
by Eisenhower, as the agent of the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff in executing the cross- 
Channel attack, and by the Chief of the 
Air Staff, as executive of the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff for the execution of the 
Combined Bomber Offensive against Ger- 
many, "the responsibility for supervision 
of air operations out of England of all the 
forces engaged in the program, including 
the United States Strategic Air Force and 
the British Bomber Command, together 
with any other air forces that might be 
made available, should pass to the 
Supreme Commander." Those strategic 
forces which would not be used in support 
of the cross-Channel attack, the British 
Chiefs of Staff declared, would be com- 
mitted in accordance with arrangements 
made by Air Chief Marshal Portal and 
General Eisenhower, with supervision of 
the effort being shared by both of them. 
The explanatory statements added that 
the British were unlikely to use the pro- 
posed reservation over the control of stra- 
tegic air forces unless they were needed for 
attacks on rocket launching sites or for a 
similar emergency, in which case they 
would inform the U.S. Chiefs of Staff 
immediately. 6 

The U.S. Chiefs at once protested that 
the new proposals did not give General 
Eisenhower "command" of the strategic 
air forces. The British, reminding the 
Americans that the Supreme Commander 
had approved their draft and had even 
written parts of it, explained their desire 
to leave in the control of the strategic air 
commanders those air forces not assigned 
to the cross-Channel attack. Despite Gen- 
eral Eisenhower's original acceptance of 
the British draft, he became disturbed by 



the question raised over the matter of 
"command" and insisted that no doubt be 
left that he had authority and responsi- 
bility "for controlling air operations of all 
three of these forces during the critical 
period of Overlord." 7 He had now 
reached the point where he was ready "to 
take drastic action and inform the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff that unless the matter 
is settled at once I will request relief from 
this command." 8 

The point at issue was settled ultimately 
on 7 April by the Combined Chiefs' state- 
ment that "the USA Strategic Air Force 
and British Bomber Command will oper- 
ate under the direction of the Supreme 
Commander, in conformity with agree- 
ments between him and the Chief of the 
Air Staff as approved by the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff." 9 With this arrangement 
made, the Chief of the Air Staff notified 
the commanders of the British and U.S. 
bomber forces that he and General Eisen- 
hower had approved, with the exception of 
certain targets in enemy-occupied terri- 
tory, the air plan developed to support the 
cross-Channel attack. The direction of 
RAF Bomber Command and USSTAF 
forces assigned to the Combined Bomber 
Offensive and the cross-Channel attack 



6 Br COS to CCS, CCS 520, 17 Mar 44, SHAEF 
SGS 373/1 Policy re: Control and Employment of 
USSTAF and Bomber Command. 

7 JSM to War Cabinet Office, JSM 1581, 17 Mar 
44; Br COS to JSM, COS(W) 1220, 7 Mar 44. Both 
in SHAEF SGS 373/1 Policy re: Control and Em- 
ployment of USSTAF and Bomber Command. 

8 Eisenhower Memo, Diary Office CinC, 22 Mar 
44. This memo seems not to have been passed on to 
anyone. 

9 CCS to Eisenhower, W-19763, 7 Apr 44, SHAEF 
SGS 373/1 Policy re: Control and Employment of 
USSTAF and Bomber Command. (This CCS message 
contains a reference to the CCS 520 series, which in- 
cludes the statement presented to the CCS by the rep- 
resentatives of the British Chiefs of Staff on 17 March 
44; see above, n. 6.) 



126 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



was to pass to the Supreme Commander 
on 14 April. 10 

Tedder on 15 April defined the over-all 
mission of the strategic air forces as the 
same as that for Pointblank: to prepare 
for the cross-Channel attack by destroying 
and dislocating the German military, in- 
dustrial, and economic system. USSTAF's 
primary job was described as the destruc- 
tion of the German Air Force, with the 
secondary aim of bombing the enemy 
transportation system, an objective which 
had been accepted only a short time before 
after weeks of discussion. 11 The RAF 
Bomber Command was to continue its 
main mission of disorganizing German in- 
dustry, with its operations complementing 
the operations of USSTAF as far as possi- 
ble. Responsibility for dealing with the 
threats of long-range rockets and pilot- 
less aircraft was placed on the commander 
of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force, who 
was authorized to ask for strategic bomber 
aid through the Deputy Supreme Com- 
mander. 12 

Once control of strategic and tactical 
air forces was settled, Air Chief Marshal 
Leigh-Mallory sought to unify the control 
of tactical air forces for the assault period. 
On 1 May, over the protests of General 
Brereton, the Ninth Air Force com- 
mander, Leigh-Mallory set up an Ad- 
vanced Headquarters, Allied Expedition- 
ary Air Force, under Air Marshal Sir 
Arthur Coningham, commander of the 2d 
Tactical Air Force, to plan and co-ordinate 
the operations of those British and U.S. 
tactical air forces allotted to him. In late 
May, the Supreme Commander directed 
the 21 Army Group commander to deal 
with only one air chief during the assault 
period. Ground force requests for air sup- 
port were now to go directly to the Com- 
mander, Advanced Headquarters, AEAF, 



at Uxbridge, where advanced headquar- 
ters of the 2d Tactical Air Force and the 
Ninth Air Force were also located. Infor- 
mation on targets of special importance 
not directly connected with the battle area 
was to be sent by the 21 Army Group to 
the Commander-in-Chief, Allied Expedi- 
tionary Air Force. 13 

At the beginning of the cross-Channel 
attack, therefore, General Eisenhower had 
under his control those portions of the 
strategic air forces of RAF Bomber Com- 
mand and USSTAF allotted him for the 
Pointblank and Overlord operations. 
His tactical support — under the control of 
the Allied Expeditionary Air Force-^con- 
sisted of the Ninth U.S. Air Force, the 2d 
Tactical Air Force, and such forces as 
should be allocated from the Air Defence 
of Great Britain. The Allied air forces were 
co-ordinated after 1 May through the Air 
Operations Planning Staff of SHAEF lo- 
cated at Stanmore, main headquarters of 
AEAF. At Stanmore daily conferences 
were held by the Deputy Supreme Com- 
mander, the commander of AEAF, and 
the Allied strategic and tactical air force 
commanders. The Allied tactical air force 



10 Ltr, Portal to Spaatz, 13 Apr 44; Air Marshal Sir 
Norman H. Bottomley to Comdr, Bomber Comd, 13 
Apr 44. Both in SHAEF SGS 373/1 Policy re: Control 
and Employment of USSTAF and Bomber Com- 
mand. 

11 See below, pp. 127-31. 

12 Directive by SHAEF (prepared by Deputy SAC 
and issued by the Supreme Commander) to USSTAF 
and Bomber Command for the support of Overlord 
during the preparatory period, 17 Apr 44, SHAEF 
SGS 373/1 Policy re: Control and Employment of 
USSTAF and Bomber Command. 

13 AEAF to 2d Tactical Air Force and Ninth Air 
Force, 9 May 44, sub: Establishment of Advanced 
AEAF, with atchd dir of 1 May 44; SAC Dir to 21 A 
Gp and C-in-C AEAF, Control of air forces during 
the initial phase of Neptune — general principles [date 
uncertain — may be 18, 19, or 2.0 May 44], SHAEF 
SGS 373/1 Policy re: Control and Employment of 
USSTAF and Bomber Command. 



SHAEF'S AIR PROBLEMS, JANUARY-JUNE 1944 



127 



commanders held similar daily meetings 
at Advanced Headquarters, AEAF, Ux- 
bridge, to co-ordinate operations of the 2d 
Tactical and Ninth Air Forces. A Com- 
bined Operations Room, consisting of 
representatives of the two tactical air 
forces, and a Combined Control Center, 
including representatives of the fighter 
units and commands in support of opera- 
tions were also established at Uxbridge. 
The control center "planned, co-ordinated 
and controlled all fighter operations in the 
initial phases of the operations; it was also 
responsible for issuing executive instruc- 
tions for the fighter bombers." The Com- 
bined Reconnaissance Center at Uxbridge 
co-ordinated photographic and visual 
reconnaissance. 14 

Railway Bombing Plan 

SHAEF's chief contribution to air sup- 
port for the assault came from its strong 
insistence on the adoption of a railway 
bombing plan. 15 In getting the proposal 
adopted, Eisenhower, Tedder, and Leigh- 
Mallory were vigorously opposed, on both 
strategic and political grounds, by most of 
the bomber commanders, by members of 
the 21 Army Group staff, and by the 
Prime Minister and most of the War 
Cabinet. 

Air Chief Marshal Leigh- Mallory's 
staff in January 1944 presented SHAEF 
with a plan for destroying railway marshal- 
ing yards and repair facilities in the inva- 
sion area. Based on an analysis by Profes- 
sor S. Zuckerman, scientific adviser to the 
Allied Expeditionary Air Force on railway 
bombing in Italy, the proposal provided 
for a ninety-day attack against thirty-nine 
targets in Germany and thirty-three in 
Belgium and France for the purpose of dis- 
locating railway systems supplying the 



enemy forces in the west. 16 

As soon as it was presented, the railway 
bombing plan was attacked by U.S. and 
British bomber commanders who feared 
that their bombing forces would be di- 
verted from the Combined Bomber Offen- 
sive and used on targets which did not give 
a satisfactory return. General Spaatz, 
commander of the U.S. Strategic Air 
Forces, had previously expressed the belief 
that if the Allies could use their full bomb- 
ing forces against the enemy they might be 
able to conquer Germany without an am- 
phibious invasion. 17 Air Chief Marshal 
Harris feared that if there was any major 
shift of strategic bomber forces to purely 
"army cooperation work" the Allies would 
soon lose the combined bombing offen- 
sive's effect for the past year. The AEAF 
planners, on the other hand, believed that 
the strategic bombing forces had already 

14 Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, 
Despatch to the Supreme Commander, AEF, Novem- 
ber 1944, Supplement to The London Gazette, December 
31, 1946, pp. 1-3. 

15 The plan was known by several names: "the 
transportation bombing plan," "the Zuckerman 
plan," "the AEAF plan," "the Tedder plan," and 
"the railway bombing plan." 

16 Rpt of Conf at Norfolk House, 13 Jan 44, dtd 14 
Jan 44, USSTAF files. (The author is indebted to Col. 
Charles Warner, USAF, and Dr. Gordon Harrison for 
these and other notes taken from the USSTAF files.) 
For the U.S. Air Force account of the railway bomb- 
ing plan, see Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea 
Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War II: III, Europe: 
ARGUMENT to V-E Day (Chicago, 1951), pp. 77-79, 
149-62. 

17 Butcher, My Three Years with Eisenhower , p. 447, 
quotes General Spaatz as saying in 1943 that, after 
the weather cleared in the spring so that bombing 
could be persistent and continuous from both the 
United Kingdom and the Mediterranean, he was con- 
fident that Germany would give up in three months. 
As a result he did not think Overlord necessary or 
desirable. Apparently Air Chief Marshal Harris 
shared this view although, once it was decided that an 
invasion was to be made, he "did not quarrel with the 
decision to place the bomber force at the disposal of 
the invading armies. . . ." Harris, Bomber Offensive, p. 
192. 



128 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



completed enough of their programs to 
spare planes that would help the ground 
forces insure the success of their assault 
operations. 

There were two specific objections to the 
railway bombing plan: the proposed offen- 
sive would have no effect on the Overlord 
battle during the first twenty days when it 
was most needed; peoples of the occupied 
countries might react unfavorably to the 
attacks over their territory. The first ob- 
jection was countered by eliminating 
targets in Germany and by increasing the 
number of objectives in France, including 
fourteen in southern France to be attacked 
from the Mediterranean theater. The Al- 
lied Air Bombing Committee, to which the 
plan was submitted for study, on 24 Jan- 
uary accepted Leigh- Mallory's conclusion 
that the proposed plan was the "only 
practicable method of dealing with the 
enemy's rail communications and that it 
satisfied army requirements." Because of 
possible War Cabinet opposition to bomb- 
ing targets in enemy-occupied territory, 
Air Chief Marshal Leigh- Mallory agreed 
that there were political implications 
which the British Chiefs of Staff would 
have to consider. He proposed to start the 
bombing program as soon as their sanction 
could be received. 18 

The Allied Expeditionary Air Force on 
12 February 1944 formally presented its 
plan for destroying enemy rail transporta- 
tion by striking at the "traffic flow poten- 
tial" (main repair centers, servicing cen- 
ters, and signaling systems). Opposition 
from the United States Strategic Air 
Forces, and the hint of disapproval from 
the British Chief of the Air Staff, brought 
Air Chief Marshal Tedder into the picture 
as the leading proponent of the plan. Act- 
ing with the full support of the Supreme 
Commander, Tedder made the proposal 



his own, and in late February and early 
March was probably chiefly responsible 
for saving it. 19 

In March and early April, the opposi- 
tion to the railway bombing plan mounted 
until it seemed to be doomed. Field Mar- 
shal Brooke doubted the effectiveness of 
the proposed attack, pointing to experi- 
ence in Italy which left serious doubt that 
it would be possible to reduce the capacity 
of railroads decisively. Far more telling 
against the plan was the political objec- 
tion. Air Chief Marshal Portal reminded 
the planners of a War Cabinet ruling of 3 
June 1940 which forbade attacks in occu- 
pied countries if any doubt existed as to 
the accuracy of bombing and if any large 
error involved the risk of serious damage 
to a populated area. In the light of an esti- 
mate by the Ministry of Home Security 
that the proposed plan would cause 
80,000-160,000 casualties, of which one 
fourth might be deaths, political approval 
of the plan seemed unlikely. 20 

Air Chief Tedder brought matters to a 
head on 24 March. He cut through many 
of the objections with the reminder that 
the Allies had to destroy the enemy's air 
forces before D Day and delay his move- 
ments toward the lodgment area. Point- 
blank, already contributing to this end, 
had to be adjusted to "prepare the way for 
the assault and subsequent land cam- 

18 Allied Air Force Bombing Com, Norfolk House, 
6th Mtg, 24 Jan 44, USSTAF file. Morgan to Leigh - 
Mallory, 10 Jan 44; Leigh-Mallory to Morgan 31 Jan 
44; Maj Gen P. G. Whitefoord to Morgan, 25 Jan 44. 
All in SHAEF SGS 373.24 Military Objectives for 
Aerial Bombardment, I. 

19 The importance of the work of Tedder is con- 
firmed by entries in Diary Office CinC, Sir Arthur 
Harris' Bomber Offensive, and statements to the author 
by Sir James M. Robb, Lord Portal, and others. 

20 Note by Maj Gen Hollis on mtg of Br COS, 19 
Mar 44, COS(44) 273 (0), 19 Mar 44, SHAEF SGS 
373.24 Military Objectives for Aerial Bombard- 
ment, I. 



SHAEF'S AIR PROBLEMS, JANUARY-JUNE 1944 



129 



paign." To do the job effectively a target 
system was required against which all 
available forces could be directed, on 
which the maximum number of effective 
hits could be made, and from which the 
widest possible choice of targets would be 
provided. Tedder thus questioned the view 
of the strategic bombing commanders that 
there was no need of Overlord if the 
strategic bombing program against indus- 
try in Germany could be carried on ac- 
tively for several more months. Tedder 
next examined General Spaatz's proposal 
for increased concentration on targets in 
Germany, with particular emphasis on the 
petroleum industry. This "oil plan," which 
became the chief alternative to the railway 
bombing plan in the discussions that fol- 
lowed, aimed not so much at immediate 
aid to an amphibious landing on the Con- 
tinent as at an offensive which might in 
itself destroy the German war potential. 
On that issue Air Chief Marshal Tedder 
decided to make his fight. He held that the 
worth of any plan at the moment lay in 
the aid it would bring to Overlord before 
D Day. After considering alternate plans, 
he concluded that the scheme to bomb 
railway marshaling yards and repair cen- 
ters offered a reasonable prospect of dis- 
organizing enemy movement and supply 
and made it easier to block traffic with 
tactical air strikes after D Day. In reach- 
ing these conclusions he swept aside U.S. 
proposals, submitted on the basis of infor- 
mation that the tonnage of bombs required 
for the purpose would be prohibitive, for 
attacks that would be confined to railway 
androadbridges. 21 

In presenting these arguments before 
the Bombing Policy Conference on 25 
March, Air Chief Marshal Tedder asked 
for continuance of the highest priority for 
Pointblank attacks deep into Germany 



which would weaken the German Air 
Force. After these requirements were ful- 
filled, however, he wanted the remaining 
air effort used to "delay and disorganize 
enemy ground movement both during and 
after the 'Neptune' assault so as to help 
the army get ashore and stay ashore." To 
achieve this objective, he urged second 
priority for the railway bombing plan, al- 
though he admitted it would not prevent 
all enemy traffic from reaching the beach- 
head. These arguments impressed General 
Eisenhower who, as the commander re- 
sponsible for getting troops firmly estab- 
lished ashore, was interested in short-range 
as well as long-range bombing results. The 
Supreme Commander insisted that, since 
the first five or six weeks of Overlord 
were likely to be most critical, it was essen- 
tial to take every possible step to insure 
that the assault forces landed and held 
their ground. The air forces' greatest con- 
tribution in this period was hindrance of 
enemy movement. In the absence of a more 
productive alternative, Eisenhower asked 
for the adoption of the AEAF plan. He 
agreed to a War Office suggestion that a 
study be made to determine whether 
bombing of a smaller area would be more 
effective, but held that it was "only neces- 
sary to show that there would be some 
reduction of German transportation, how- 
ever small, to justfy adopting this plan, 
provided there was no alternative avail- 
able." 22 

General Spaatz now strongly urged the 
attack on the oil resources of the enemy as 
an effective alternative plan. He main- 
tained that the strategic bomber attacks 



21 Memo by Tedder, 24 Mar 44, SHAEF SGS 
373/1 Policy re: Control and Employment of 
USSTAF and Bomber Command. 

22 Bombing Policy Conf Mtg, 25 Mar 44, CAS 
Misc/61/Final, U.S. Air Force files. 



130 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



on the railways, in the time and with the 
forces available, would neither affect the 
course of the initial battle nor prevent the 
movement of German reserves from other 
fronts. The oil plan would weaken enemy 
resistance on all fronts, hastening the suc- 
cess of Overlord after D Day. Further- 
more, it would force the German Air Force 
to fight, thus giving the Allies an oppor- 
tunity to reduce the remaining air strength 
of the enemy. General Eisenhower now 
intervened to say that it was clear the rail- 
way bombing plan "meant very little 
change in the present Bomber Command 
Program," and that the main question was 
whether the U.S. forces could carry out 
their part in it. In the light of Air Chief 
Marshal Harris' and General Spaatz's 
doubts that the Tedder plan could be com- 
pleted before D Day, the Supreme Com- 
mander asked General Spaatz to consider 
information which Air Chief Marshal 
Tedder would supply regarding the con- 
tribution of the U.S. bomber forces and to 
report whether the requirements could be 
met. The Deputy Supreme Commander 
was then to prepare a draft directive based 
on the Spaatz study, and the Supreme 
Commander and the British Chief of the 
Air Staff would make their final deci- 
sions. 23 

In preparing his report to Air Chief 
Marshal Tedder, General Spaatz revealed 
one of his major worries over the railway 
bombing plan. He was willing to see it 
adopted for France where the bombing 
effort could be shared with Bomber Com- 
mand and the tactical bomber forces of 
AEAF, but he wished to keep a free hand 
for the use of his surplus forces in Ger- 
many. On 31 March he accepted the at- 
tack on the German Air Force and on the 
railroads in France as prerequisites to the 
success of Overlord, but held that no 



conclusive answer had been given to the 
question of whether attacks on railroads 
or oil in Germany would have more effect 
on Overlord. Although he agreed that 
the oil attack might have been a less defi- 
nite impact in the time allotted, he be- 
lieved it certain to be more far-reaching 
in the long run. He asked, therefore, that 
the priority for attacks by USSTAF be 
given to: (1) German Air Force and ball 
bearings, (2) rail transportation in occu- 
pied countries, and (3) synthetic oil 
plants. 24 

The railway bombing plan next came 
under fire from British quarters. The Joint 
Intelligence Sub-Committee, already 
doubtful about the proposal, reported in 
early April that despite bombings which 
had already taken place on enemy rail- 
roads there was no sign of any serious 
failure on their part to move vital military 
and economic traffic. Admitting that the 
shortage of railway cars was critical, the 
subcommittee nevertheless held it was not 
so severe as to prevent the system from 
handling the enemy's minimum rail re- 
quirements in France and the Low Coun- 
tries after D Day. This report led Field 
Marshal Brooke to question whether the 
Allies were justified in taking bombers off 
German Air Force targets and placing 
them on railroads. 25 

A more serious threat to the execution 
of the AEAF plan was the political objec- 
tion to it which became increasingly pro- 
nounced in April and May. The War 
Cabinet on 3 April took "a grave and on 
the whole an adverse view of the pro- 
posal . . ." because of possible injuries and 

23 Ibid. 

24 Memo, Spaatz for Eisenhower, 3 1 Mar 44, Diary 
Office CinC. 

25 JIC Report, 3 Apr 44, COS (44) 1 12th Mtg, 6 
Apr 44, SHAEF SGS 373.24 Military Objectives for 
Aerial Bombardment, I. 



SHAEF'SAIR PROBLEMS, JANUARY-JUNE 1944 



131 



deaths to thousands of French civilians. 
Pressed by the War Cabinet to refer the 
matter to the Defence Committee, Presi- 
dent Roosevelt, and the Department of 
State, Mr. Churchill expressed his fear 
concerningthe wisdom of the plan to Gen- 
eral Eisenhower. The latter, aware of the 
serious implications of the railway bomb- 
ing scheme, reminded the Prime Minister 
that one of the chief factors leading to the 
acceptance of the Overlord plan was the 
belief that "our overpowering air force 
would make feasible an operation which 
might otherwise be considered extremely 
hazardous, if not foolhardy." He asked 
that they proceed with the plan. While 
sympathetic with the views of the French, 
he noted that, since they were "now 
slaves," no one should have a greater in- 
terest than they in the measures leading to 
the success of the invasion. 26 

Although targets in France were still 
subject to War Cabinet control, the Su- 
preme Commander and his staff moved 
steadily toward the implementation of the 
plan. The decision on 27 March by the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff that the strategic 
air forces would pass to the Supreme Com- 
mander in mid-April made the situation 
easier. When Air Chief Marshal Tedder 
objected to further delay in starting at- 
tacks on rail centers, General Eisenhower 
decided to use the occasion of his assump- 
tion of the strategic bombing forces to an- 
nounce that the plan had been approved 
with the exception of certain listed targets. 
He made clear that the political effects of 
the plan would be kept under continuous 
review. An advisory committee consisting 
of the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, a 
scientific adviser, and representatives of 
the Air Ministry, USSTAF, Bomber Com- 
mand, AEAF, Railway Research Service, 
SHAEF G-2, and SHAEF G-3 was ap- 



pointed to aid the Deputy Supreme Com- 
mander supervise the railway bombing 
plan. 27 The issue, however, was not yet 
settled. 

Hopes for speedy approval of all pro- 
posed targets in occupied countries were 
not realized. Less than two months before 
D Day, Air Chief Marshal Leigh-Mallory 
reported that of twenty-seven targets on 
which clearance was requested only four- 
teen had been approved for attacks, and of 
this number only five had been listed for 
unrestricted bombing. SHAEF announced 
an enlarged list of selected targets on the 
following day but withdrew it on 29 April, 
apparently in the face of War Cabinet op- 
position. With the exception of the Secre- 
taries of State for War and Air, the entire 
Cabinet held the plan to be of doubtful 
military value and likely political disad- 
vantage. The members suggested instead 
that the United States Air Forces prepare 
a plan for the strategic air forces which 
would not cost more than 100 lives per 
target. Mr. Churchill forwarded this rec- 
ommendation to the President and the 
Supreme Commander, sending the latter 
in addition a report by Sir Robert Bruce 
Lockhart's Political Committee that re- 
cent Allied air raids in France had been 
"catastrophic" for French morale. General 
Eisenhower and Air Chief Marshal Tedder 
stood firm in the face of these objections, 
the Supreme Commander declaring, "I 
have stuck by my guns because there is no 
other way in which this tremendous air 
force can help us, during the preparatory 
period, to get ashore and stay there." He 

26 Churchill to Eisenhower, 3 Apr 44; Eisenhower 
to Churchill, 5 Apr 44. Both in Diary Office CinC. 

» Dir, 15 Apr 44, SHAEF SGS 373/1 Policy re: 
Control and Employment of USSTAF and Bomber 
Command; Mtg of air comdrs, 15 Apr 44, SHAEF 
SGS 373.24 Military Objectives for Aerial Bombard- 
ment, I. 



132 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



pointed out that suggested alternatives for 
bombing troop concentrations and supply 
dumps would probably kill four French- 
men for every German. 28 

To the warnings of Mr. Churchill and 
the War Cabinet were next added the 
request of the French Committee of Na- 
tional Liberation that the French com- 
mand be consulted on targets, and the 
suggestion that it take control of the bomb- 
ing. The latter proposal was not taken 
seriously, but General Smith in early May 
arranged for Maj. Gen. Pierre Joseph 
Koenig, head of the French forces in the 
United Kingdom, to consult with Air 
Chief Marshal Tedder on bombings which 
might involve the loss of French lives. Gen- 
eral Smith reported that, to his surprise, 
General Koenig took a "much more cold- 
blooded view than we do." The French 
commander had remarked, "This is war 
and it must be expected that people will 
be killed. . . . We would take twice the 
anticipated loss to be rid of the Ger- 
mans." 29 

General Eisenhower and Air Chief 
Marshal Leigh-Mallory at the end of April, 
pressed once more for a final decision on 
all their targets. With theaid of Air Chief 
Marshal Portal, they were able to get the 
Prime Minister's reluctant approval for 
the bombings, provided the casualty list in 
occupied countries did not rise above 
10,000.Mr. Churchill was disturbed, how- 
ever, and continued to watch the opera- 
tions closely, demanding only a week be- 
fore D Day why the Deputy Supreme 
Commander had not examined the Politi- 
cal Committee's report on French reac- 
tions to the bombings, and adding, "I am 
afraid you are piling up an awful load of 
hate." 30 

Opinions of airmen and students of the 
railway bombing plan differ greatly as to 



its effect on German movement. The 
strategic air forces hold that it was the at- 
tack on the bridges and not the railway 
bombings which wrecked the German sup- 
ply plan. Even the German commanders, 
while strong in their belief that the various 
air attacks were ruinous to their counter- 
offensive plans, disagreed as to which were 
the most successful. As to the general effec- 
tiveness of the bombings, both tactical and 
strategic, there can be do doubt. 

By D Day some 76,200 tons of bombs 
had been dropped on rail centers (71,000), 
bridges (4,400), and open lines (800). The 
bridges were down the length of the Seine 
from Rouen to Mantes-Gassicourt before 
D Day, and on 26 May all routes over the 
Seine north of Paris were closed to rail 
traffic and remained closed for the follow- 
ing month. Railway traffic dropped 
sharply between 19 May and 9 June, the 
index (based on lOOforJanuary and Feb- 
ruary 1944) falling from 69 to 38, and by 
mid- July dropping further to 23. Although 
French collaborationists roused some feel- 
ing against the Allies as a result of losses 
from bombings, there is no evidence that 
pro-German sentiment increased sharply 
because of the transportation attacks. The 
fears of USSTAF that it would have to 
bear the burden of transportation attacks 
did not prove correct: Bomber Command 
struck at a greater number of targets and 

28 Ltr, AEAF to SHAEF; 19 Apr 44; Dir, Eisen- 
hower to AEAF, 20 Apr 44; Memo, SGS to CofS, 20 
Apr 44; Dir, Eisenhower to Leigh-Mallory, Spaatz, 
and Harris, 29 Apr 44; Ltr Churchill to Eisenhower 
with incls, 28 Apr 44. All in SHAEF SGS 373.24 Mili- 
tary Objectives for Aerial Bombardment, I. Eisen- 
hower to Marshall, 29 Apr 44, Eisenhower personal 
file. 

2 » Memo, French Comof National Liberation, 5 
May 44, File of Air Chief Marshal Robb; Interv with 
Sir James Robb, 3 Feb 47; Smith to Marshall, 
S-5 1984, 17 May 44, Eisenhower personal file. 

J ° Copy of note, Churchill to Tedder, OCMH files. 



AIR ATTACK on the railwayyards at Domfront, France (above). Shattered railway bridge 
over the Seine at Port du Gravier (below). 



134 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



dropped a larger tonnage of bombs on the 
occupied areas in the pre-D-Day period 
than did the United States Eighth Air 
Force. General Eisenhower, writing later, 
had no doubt that it had been wise to press 
for the plan. In his postwar report he 
declared: 

The fate of the Continent depended upon 
the ability of our forces to seize a foothold and 
to maintain that foothold against everything 
we expected the enemy to throw against US. 
No single factor contributing to the success of 
our efforts in Normandy could be overlooked 
or disregarded. Military events, I believe, 
justified the decision taken, and the French 
people, far from being alienated, accepted 
the hardships and suffering with a realism 
worthy of a far-sighted nation. 31 

CROSSBOW 

Prominent among the enemy weapons 
against which General Eisenhower found 
it necessary to turn the Allied air effort be- 
fore D Day were the long-range rockets 
and pilotless aircraft known by the Ger- 
mans as vengeance weapons (Vergeltungs- 
wqffen). General Eisenhower, fearful of 
attacks by these weapons on Allied mar- 
shaling areas during the critical period of 
concentration of assault forces, urged 
strong bombing attacks on their launching 
sites to prevent enemy forces from disrupt- 
ing his invasion plans. 32 

In the spring of 1943, Allied intelli- 
gence discovered a German research sta- 
tion at Peenemuende on the Baltic Sea 
engaged in experiments with guided mis- 
siles. General Morgan was informed of 
these activities, but the responsibility for 
dealing with them was apparently given to 
the British Bomber Command. An effec- 
tive raid on Peenemuende on the night of 
17-18 August 1943 forced the enemy to 
disperse his experimental activities and set 



up underground sites. 33 

Allied apprehension was increased in 
the late fall of 1943 when sixty-nine "ski 
sites" apparently intended as launching 
platforms for pilotless aircraft were photo- 
graphed within a 150-mile radius of Lon- 
don, chiefly in the Pas-de-Calais and 
Cherbourg area. 34 At the rate of construc- 
tion which had been observed, it appeared 

31 Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, Ch. 6, has drawn 
heavily on German sources in addition to the other 
information used in other reports. His account gives 
strong backing to the effectiveness of the railway 
bombing plan. Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces 
in World War II, Vol. Ill, Ch. 6, are inclined to the 
strategic air forces view, but they have not made use 
of some of the enemy records used by Harrison. The 
author has used statistical information from the two 
books. Other material on the subject may be found in 
"The Effects of the Overlord Air Plan to Disrupt the 
Enemy Rail Connections," 4 Nov 44, BAU Report I, 
SHAEF SGS BAU 334; Leigh-Mallory Despatch, p. 
44; 12 A Gp Air Effects Com, Effect of Airpoweron 
Military Operations, 15 Jul 45; Minutes of the 
THUNDERBOLT Conference held in London sum- 
mer of 1947 to examine the effectiveness of air oper- 
ations in Overlord; Report by the Supreme Commander to 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff on the Operations in Europe <f 
theAEF, 6June 1944 to 8 May 1945 (Washington, 1946), 
p. 16; Army Air Forces Evaluation Board in ETO, 
Summary Report on Effectiveness of Air Attack 
Against Rail Transportation in the Battle of France, 
1 Jun 45, p. 3, Air University, Maxwell Field, Ala. 
Leigh-Mallory Despatch, p. 14, says that in the period 
of the operation of the transportation plan, 9 Febru- 
ary-6June 44, AEAF dropped 10,125, Bomber Com- 
mand 44,744, and U.S. Eighth Air Force, 1 1,648 tons. 
From the Mediterranean, the Fifteenth Air Force 
dropped 3,074 tons of bombs on targets in southern 
France. The SHAEF Bombing Analysis Unit, report- 
ing on the period 6 March- 6June 1944, shows that 
AEAF dropped 10,486, Bomber Command 40,921, 
U.S. Eighth Air Force 7,886, and U.S. Fifteenth Air 
Force 3,074 tons of bombs. 

32 These weapons and the German operation em- 
ploying them were referred to initially by the Allies 
as Bodyline. Later the name was changed to Cross- 
bow, a general term that was applied as well to Allied 
countermeasures against the German long-range 
weapons program. The air forces in referring to target 
sites in their attacks spoke of Noball targets. 

33 For a convenient summary of early developments 
of the V weapons and Allied operations against them, 
see War Office, MI 4/14, The German Long-Range 
Rocket Programme, 1930-45, 30 Oct 45, G-2 Docu- 



SHAEF'S AIR PROBLEMS, JANUARY-JUNE 1944 



135 



that the enemy would have twenty of the 
sites completed by early January 1944, 
and the remainder by February with the 
possibility of a full-scale attack by that 
time. Attempting to counter these new 
menaces, the British Chiefs of Staff or- 
dered bombing raids against them as early 
as 5 December 1943. These were not com- 
pletely successful, as a result of unfavor- 
able weather. 35 

General Morgan was asked in Decem- 
ber 1943 to study the probable effect of 
the enemy's vengeance weapon, which 
might be equal to the force of a 2000-ton 
bombing raid every twenty-four hours, on 
the launching of Overlord. He was to ex- 
amine the steps that could be taken to 
mount the cross-Channel attack from 
British bases outside the range of the pilot- 
less aircraft. The COSSAC staff members, 
after considering the probable effects of 
the V-weapon attacks, concluded that 
they might prejudice, but not preclude, 
the launching of the assault from the south 
coast of England. Although they recom- 
mended maximum dispersion before and 
during embarkation, a movement of as- 
sault forces outside the range of the enemy 
weapons, they believed, would have seri- 
ous effects on training and efficiency. Gen- 
eral Morgan declared that it was not 
possible to launch Overlord in its exist- 
ing form unless the forces assembled and 
sailed from the south coast. 36 

British air attacks begun on 5 December 
1943 were strengthened after the middle 

ment Library; Harris, Bomber Offensive, pp. 182-85; 
United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS), 
Report on the Crossbow Campaign: The Air Offen- 
sive Against the V Weapons, 24 Sep 45. Also see de- 
tailed story of the operation prior to D Day in Craven 
and Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War II, Vol. 
Ill, Ch. IV; Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, p. 140n. 

34 The sites were so called because "of a big store 
room construction which from the air looked very 
like a ski. . . ." Leigh-Mallory Despatch, p. 53. 



of the month by the Eighth Air Force, 
which was ordered to hit the Noball tar- 
gets when weather conditions were not 
suitable for deep penetration of Germany. 
Attacks on the approximately one hun- 
dred ski sites reported between St. Omer 
and Neufchatel and a small area south of 
Cherbourg were intensified and top pri- 
ority was given the attack on five active 
larger sites apparently designed for the 
launching of rockets. Reports of successful 
results in January 1944, and a decline in 
German claims of a new weapon of re- 
prisal, led Allied intelligence agencies to 
conclude near the close of the month that 
there was no likelihood of an attack by the 
new weapons for at least four weeks. 37 

The Supreme Commander was asked in 
early February to submit a revised report 
on the possible effect of Crossbow on 
Overlord. Impressed, perhaps, by satis- 
factory reports of recent Allied raids, 
SHAEF reported in late March that the 
direct effects of enemy V weapons were 
among the "smaller hazards of war to 
which Overlord is liable" and that the 
probable casualties did not make it neces- 
sary to move the assault forces west of 
Southampton. The Allies received addi- 
tional encouragement in mid- April when 
the air forces reported that of the ninety- 
six ski sites attacked, sixty-five were in 
damage category A, which was believed 
sufficient to prevent the enemy from 
launching weapons before making exten- 
sive repairs. Despite this assurance, the 



35 COS (43) 760 (0), 14 Dec 43, SHAEF files; 
Leigh-Mallory Despatch, p. 53 

36 Ltr, Price to Morgan, 16 Dec 43; Interim rpt by 
COSSAC on effect of Crossbow on Overlord, 20 
Dec 43. Both in SHAEF SGS 38 1 Crossbow. 

37 USSBS, Report on the Crossbow Campaign, pp. 
6, 19; Leigh-Mallory Despatch, p. 53; Rpt, Asst Chief 
of Air Staff (Intelligence) to Br COS, War Cabinet, 
28 Jan 44, SHAEF SGS 381 Crossbow. 



136 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



British Chiefs of Staffs were apprehensive 
over a reduction in the scale of Allied at- 
tacks on these targets in March and April. 
They estimated that repair and construc- 
tion of launching sites were gaining on the 
damage made by the bomber forces. Avail- 
ing themselves of a provision in the Su- 
preme Commander's directive permitting 
them to intervene in matters affecting the 
security of the British Isles, they asked that 
attacks on these sites be given priority over 
all other operations except Pointblank 
until the threat was overcome. 38 

Shortly before D Day, the British Chiefs 
of Staff reviewed the V- weapon situation 
and made the following recommendations: 
that the percentage of tactical air force 
efforts (10 percent of the total) then being 
expended against ski sites be continued 
until about D Day unless some unforeseen 
development arose; that a decision be 
made about 1 June concerning the attack 
on supply sites or "modified" sites, of 
which approximately fifty had been lo- 
cated. The Deputy Supreme Commander 
asked that visual attacks be carried out at 
the first favorable opportunity against 
some of the larger sites. 39 

Between August 1943 and 6 June 1944, 
more than 32,000 sorties were flown and 
3 1 ,000 tons of bombs were dropped in the 
attack on launching sites. In March and 
April 1944, the tactical air forces expended 
22 percent and the Eighth Air Force 13 
percent of their total efforts in operations 
against these targets. However, Air Chief 
Marshal Leigh- Mallory noted that this 
activity had not interfered with his pre- 
paratory operations for Overlord, and 
the Eighth Air Force reported that on only 
two days between 1 December 1943 and 1 
September 1 944 was there any substantial 
diversion from its attacks on German tar- 
gets. The AEAF commander concluded 



that by D Day eighty-six out of ninety- 
seven pilotless aircraft sites and two of the 
seven identified rocket sites had been neu- 
tralized. At least seventy-four modified 
site'; were not revealed by photographic 
reconnaissance until after D Day, and 
these remained as targets for future air and 
ground attacks. The combined efforts of 
the tactical and strategic air forces suc- 
ceeded in delaying enemy attacks with 
pilotless aircraft until one week after 
D Day and were a strong factor in re- 
ducing the effectiveness of the ultimate 
assault. 40 

Effect of the Air Program 

While the Supreme Commander was 
attempting to get full approval of the rail- 
way bombing program, the Pointblank 
operation continued in full force against its 
primary objectives in Germany. The 
USSTAF oil plan went into effect in April 
and was beginning to yield some results 
before D Day. Experiments in the bomb- 
ing of bridges in occupied countries 
showed that these operations were much 
less costly than had been predicted, and 
the program was pressed with great success 
by the air forces. This, and the railway 
bombing operations, which at length got 
into full swing, effectively damaged enemy 
communications and interfered with 



38 Memo, SHAEF for Br COS, 23 Mar 44, sub: 
Effects of Crossbow on Overlord; USSTAF to 
Arnold, U-61015, 16 Apr 44; Ismay to Eisenhower, 18 
Apr 44; Tedder to Spaatz, 19 Apr 44. All in SHAEF 
SGS 381 Crossbow. USSBS, Report on the Cross- 
bow Campaign, p. 19. 

39 COS (44) 460 (0), 26 May 44; Ltr, Hollis to CofS 
SHAEF, 30 May 44, SHAEF SGS 381 Crossbow. 

, 40 COS (44) 460 (0), 26 May 44; Note by Air Staff, 
Crossbow Effect of Diversion of Air Effort on Over- 
lord; Leigh-Mallory Despatch, p. 54; USSBS, Report 
on the Crossbow Campaign, pp. 2-3. Cf. Craven and 
Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War II, III, 104-06. 



SHAEF'S AIR PROBLEMS, JANUARY-JUNE 1944 



137 



the Germans' freedom of movement to 
threatened areas. The bombings of launch- 
ing sites for pilotless aircraft aided the in- 
vasion forces at least negatively by post- 
poning bombardment of the marshaling 
areas by these weapons. The ground forces 
were also helped greatly in their planning 
by the information on enemy movements 
and defenses gathered by photographic 
reconnaissance units. All air activities were 
supplemented immediately before and 
after D Day by the raids of thousands of 



tactical aircraft over the lodgment area. 
These combined efforts reduced almost to 
zero the enemy's ability to conduct aerial 
reconnaissance over the marshaling area 
or to launch any effective aerial counter- 
measures against the invasion forces. By 
D Day the Allied air forces had established 
their superiority over the enemy in western 
Europe, and the effects of months of 
pounding German industry and wearing 
away the German Air Force were to be seen 
at last when the invasion was launched. 



CHAPTER VIII 



Relations With the Occupied 

Countries 



General Eisenhower made great efforts 
to strengthen the Overlord attack by 
seeking continually to get for his crusade 
the maximum support of the leaders and 
peoples of occupied Europe. In the spring 
of 1944 SHAEF intensified efforts, started 
long before D Day, to organize and direct 
Resistance activities. The Allied govern- 
ments and SHAEF also attempted to lay 
the basis for smooth relationships after D 
Day by drawing up a series of civil affairs 
agreements with the governments-in-exile 
and by organizing SHAEF missions which 
would deal with these governments once 
they were re-established in their countries. 
General Eisenhower tried in particular to 
get the support of the French leaders-in- 
exile, not only because much of the early 
fighting would be in France, but because 
that country was expected ultimately to 
furnish some ten divisions for the coming 
campaigns. 

Allied Liaison Machinery 

In establishing liaison with the govern- 
ments-in-exile, SHAEF started with ma- 
chinery which had been developed in the 
United Kingdom as early as 1939. The 
governments-in-exile of Belgium, Czecho- 
slovakia, the Netherlands, Norway, 



Poland, Greece, and Yugoslavia had been 
established in London, and of Luxem- 
bourg in Canada in the period between 
1939 and 1941. The French National 
Committee, organized by Gen. Charles 
de Gaulle in London in 1940, undertook 
to speak for the French government. Dip- 
lomatic relations were carried on with the 
various governments-in-exile by the Brit- 
ish through representatives of the Foreign 
Office, and by the United States through 
Ambassador Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, 
Jr., former Ambassador to Poland. The 
British services also maintained special 
military liaison with the governments -in- 
exile, inasmuch as most of them had land, 
sea, or air contingents under British com- 
mand. By August 1943 Belgian, Dutch, 
Polish, and Czech units had military liaison 
with 21 Army Group, Norwegian units 
with the 5 2d Division (Br.), and the 
French forces with the War Office. Once 
SHAEF appeared on the scene some 
change was required in the military and 
political liaison system. 

In October 1943, at General Morgan's 
insistence, the British Chiefs of Staff 
agreed to the establishment of liaison mis- 
sions by the governments-in-exile at 
COS SAC. Relations between such groups 
and Supreme Headquarters were co-or- 



RELATIONS WITH THE OCCUPIED COUNTRIES 



139 



dinated in January 1944 by a European 
Contact Section, SHAEF, under Lt. Gen. 
A. E. Grasett and former Ambassador 
Biddle, now a lieutenant colonel, his chief 
deputy. General Grasett proposed in 
March 1944 that missions from these gov- 
ernments be appointed to SHAEF, to 21 
Army Group, and, where necessary, to 1st 
U.S. Army Group. Members of these mis- 
sions were to give advice on all matters 
concerning their countries to the com- 
manders to whom they were accredited. 
They were to control their own adminis- 
trative personnel. 1 

At the time of the invasion, Norway had 
a liaison mission with the Allied Land 
Forces (Norway) commander, General Sir 
Andrew Thorne. The head of this mission 
was assigned to SHAEF. The governments 
of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and the 
Netherlands each had a liaison mission at- 
tached to SHAEF or to the army group to 
which they had assigned troops, and 
Poland had liaison groups with SHAEF 
and the U.S. and British army groups. No 
arrangements had been concluded with 
the French. In order to aid the Allied 
forces in France, however, approximately 
150 French officers had been in training in 
London since November 1943 for liaison 
duties with tactical units. Shortly before 
D Day General Eisenhower asked the 
French Committee to supply additional 
officers for this purpose, indicating that 
some 550 would be needed. 2 

Also in process of development were 
SHAEF missions that were to be sent to 
France, Belgium and Luxembourg, the 
Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway after 
their governments had been restored to 
power. Toward the end of April 1944 Gen- 
eral Grasett asked the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff to decide on the nationality of the 



heads of the missions, suggesting that the 
nation which occupied a given country 
during its liberation should furnish the 
chief of the mission there. The proposal 
was premature since the Prime Minister 
and the President had not yet come to a 
conclusion regarding the zones which their 
countries were to occupy. General Smith 
proposed as a temporary expedient that 
mission "cadres" be organized under act- 
ing chiefs and that the final selection be 
left until an agreement had been reached 
on British and U.S. zones. This agreement 
had not been made before D Day. 3 

Civil Affairs Agreements 

Even before liaison arrangements had 
been concluded, the United States and 
Great Britain were negotiating civil affairs 
agreements with some of the governments- 
in-exile. These agreements were intended 
to govern relations between the restored 
governments and the Allied Expeditionary 
Force during the period of military con- 
trol. Negotiations with Norway, Belgium, 
and the Netherlands were prolonged for a 
number of months because of questions of 
procedure which arose between the 
United States and Britain. On 16 May 

1 Recommendation of Gen Morgan noted in 191st 
Mtg, 18 Aug 43, COS Min (43); Morgan Memo, 24 
Sep 43, COS Min (43) 575 (0); Conf, 2 Mar 44, 
SHAEF G-5, European Allied Contact Sec (General). 

2 Memo, Grasett, 14 Apr 44, SHAEF SGS 322.01 
Liaison Agreement with Allied Govts. SHAEF Memo, 
Policy for Future Liaison Arrangements between 
SHAEF and the European Allies, 25 Apr 44; Lt. Col. 
McFie to COSSAC, 25 Nov 43; G-3 to AFHQ,, 
S-52398, 23 May 44. All in SHAEF European Allied 
Contact Sec. 

3 Memo, Grasett for CofS SHAEF, 27 Apr 44; Mor- 
gan to Smith, 1 May 44; Smith handwritten memo 
for Morgan, undated; Morgan to Grasett, 2 May 44. 
All in SHAEF SGS 322.01 Liaison Agreements with 
Allied Govts. 



140 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



1944, separate agreements were signed 
with Norway by representatives of the 
United States, Great Britain, and the 
USSR, and with Belgium and the Nether- 
lands by the United States and Great 
Britain. The conclusion of an accord with 
France was delayed until after the cross- 
Channel attack, and the agreement with 
Denmark could not be signed until that 
country and its government were liber- 
ated. 

Norway, Belgium, and the Netherlands 
gave the Supreme Commander control in 
those portions of their countries which 
should be liberated by him until such time 
as he felt the military situation would per- 
mit him to turn over administrative re- 
sponsibility to the national governments. 
Among the salient provisions of the civil 
affairs agreements were those which re- 
established national courts, granted the 
Allies exclusive legal jurisdiction over 
members of their forces except in case of 
offenses against local laws, confirmed the 
power of the Allied commander in chief to 
requisition billets and supplies and make 
use of lands, buildings, transportation, and 
other services needed for military pur- 
poses, and established claims commissions. 
Questions not covered in these agreements 
were left for further negotiations; some of 
these were not settled until the end of the 
war. 4 

The military missions of Belgium, the 
Netherlands, and Norway were asked on 
25 May 1944 to provide officers to advise 
the Allied military authorities on adminis- 
tration, intelligence, plans and operations, 
civil affairs, public relations, and psycho- 
logical warfare in relation to the three 
countries. The way was thus open to sim- 
ple and direct dealing with three of the 
five countries whose liberation SHAEF 
was shortly to undertake. 



Troubled Relations with the 
French Committee 

Factors Creating Difficulties 

The difficulties that arose between the 
French Committee and the United States 
and Great Britain created one of the "most 
acutely annoying" problems faced by 
General Eisenhower before D Day and 
during the first weeks of the invasion. 5 
They grew out of General de Gaulle's de- 
sire to restore France to the position of a 
great power with himself as the sole 
responsible authority. His proclamation in 
the summer of 1940 that the war was not 
lost and his prompt organization of the 
French National Committee in London 
created a rallying point for those French- 
men who were willing to resist the Ger- 
mans and the Vichy regime. Unfortu- 
nately, he and his followers alienated a 
number of Frenchmen both inside and 
outside France who felt that their efforts 
at resistance were being overlooked by 
de Gaulle. Among these were former Reg- 
ular Army officers who, although they 
were in the area controlled by Vichy, were 
engaged in schemes to aid the Allies in the 
liberation of France. Some of the French- 
men outside France preferred to follow the 
lead of Gen. Henri Honore Giraud in his 
program of restoring French independ- 
ence. At times these groups became so in- 
tense in their rivalry for control of the 

4 AGWAR to SHAEF, W-32575, 5 May 44, 
SHAEF SGS 014.1 Belgium, Civil Affairs Dir for Bel- 
gium, I. ETOUSA to AGWAR, S-51681, 1 1 May 
44; State Dept Rad Bull 118, 16 May 44. Both in 
SHAEF SGS 14. 1 Norway,Civil Affairs Dir for Nor- 
way. Details of the agreements may also be found in 
the directives of the three governments, which are in 
the above SHAEF SGS Norway and Belgium files and 
in SHAEF SGS 014.1 Netherlands, Civil Affairs Dir 
for Netherlands. 

5 The quoted phrase is General Eisenhower's. 



RELATIONS WITH THE OCCUPIED COUNTRIES 



141 



French forces outside France that it was 
difficult for the Allies to know what course 
to follow. 

The Allies' decision to make use of Ad- 
miral Jean Francois Darlan during the 
North African operations offended French- 
men in both Giraudist and Gaullist circles 
and made them somewhat suspicious of 
Allied intentions. The de Gaulle group 
was further alienated by favor shown to 
the Giraudist group. President Roosevelt 
and Secretary of State Hull, while strongly 
in favor of restoring freedom to France, 
were not convinced that General de Gaulle 
or his followers represented the majority of 
the French people. They felt that any 
recognition of the French Committee of 
National Liberation, which Generals de 
Gaulle and Giraud had sponsored inJune 
1943 as a successor of the French National 
Committee, might force an unwanted re- 
gime on France. The President feared in 
particular that de Gaulle's desire was 
aimed more at gaining political control of 
France than at defeating the Germans. De 
Gaulle's threats of punishment for adher- 
ents of Marshal Henri Philippe Petain left 
many Allied leaders with the impression 
that his program in a liberated France 
might produce civil war. 

The British and U.S. Governments fre- 
quently differed in their attitudes toward 
de Gaulle. The British had given their 
backing to the first de Gaulle committee in 
1940. The Prime Minister, while often 
stern with the French general and inclined 
to resent some of his views, tended to seek 
some understanding between the general 
and Mr. Roosevelt. It is probable that but 
for the strong opposition of the President 
to the French Committee the British 
would have recognized it as the provi- 
sional government of France before D 
Day — a move which would have simpli- 



fied SHAEF's task in dealing with French 
civil affairs. 

The United States in July 1942 had se- 
lected representatives to consult with Gen- 
eral de Gaulle and the French Committee 
in London on all matters relative to the 
conduct of war which concerned the 
French. 6 Because the President had not 
been attracted to de Gaulle, however, he 
was prepared to deal with other represent- 
atives of the French people. Mr. Roose- 
velt had accepted the French Committee 
of National Liberation with strong reser- 
vations. In August 1943 he said that he 
welcomed its formation, but expected it to 
function on the principle of collective re- 
sponsibility of all its members for the ac- 
tive prosecution of the war and to be 
subject to the military requirements of the 
Allied commanders. The committee was 
recognized as a political body functioning 
within specific limitations during the 
period of the war, but not as a government. 
"Later on," the President said, "the people 
of France, in a free and untrammeled 
manner, will proceed in due course to se- 
lect their own government and their own 
officials to administer it." He directed 
General Eisenhower to deal with the 
French military authorities and not with 
the French Committee on matters involv- 
ing French forces. 7 This instruction had 
the effect not only of reducing the govern- 
mental authority of the French Commit- 



8 Admiral Stark, commander of U.S. Naval Forces 
in Europe, represented the Navy, and Brig. Gen. 
Charles L. Bolte, chief of staff of Headquarters, 
ETOUSA, represented the Army. Through his chief 
of staff, General Eisenhower was made aware of 
French problems from the time he became the 
ETOUSA commander. Inasmuch as there were sev- 
eral changes in the Army representative, Admiral 
Stark and his staff provided the continuity for U.S. 
relations with French representatives in London. 

' Statement by Roosevelt, 26 Aug 43, ABC 334.08 
French Com of National Liberation. 



142 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



tee but of increasing the power of General 
Giraud, commander in chief of the French 
forces. The inevitable result was to in- 
crease division among the French factions. 
There continued to appear in London and 
other capitals committees and liaison offi- 
cers representing the Giraudists, Gaullists, 
and various splinter groups. The task of 
Supreme Headquarters, which needed 
some specific authority with which to deal 
on matters of French Resistance, the com- 
mand of French troops, and agreements 
for the administration of civil affairs in 
liberated France, was thus made more 
difficult. 

Civil Affairs Agreements With France 

The desire of General de Gaulle to es- 
tablish the authority of the French Com- 
mittee of National Liberation was respon- 
sible for many difficulties which arose 
between the Allies and the French in 1943 
and 1944. In no case was the clash over 
authority more evident than in the discus- 
sions of an arrangement for the adminis- 
tration of civil affairs in the liberated areas 
of France. 

Early in its preparations for civil affairs 
administration, COSSAC stressed the 
need for an agreement with the French 
during the operations in northwest Europe. 
General Barker, deputy chief of COSSAC, 
discussed the matter in August 1943 
with Secretary Hull and Mr. James C. 
Dunn of the State Department. They 
agreed that a formula should be worked 
out for dealing with the French. A draft 
agreement to this end was presented by the 
United States and Great Britain at the 
Moscow Conference in the fall of 1943. 
The Western Allies declared that, subject 
to the primary purpose of defeating Ger- 
many, the landing in France was to have 
the purpose of liberating the French at the 



earliest moment from their oppressors and 
of creating conditions in which a demo- 
cratically constituted government might 
be able to take responsibility for civil ad- 
ministration. Until the people could make 
a free choice of the government which they 
desired, they were to be given "the largest 
measure of personal and political liberty 
compatible with military security. . . ." 
The civil administration under the Su- 
preme Commander was to be restored as 
far as possible to the French, and a director 
of civil affairs was to be appointed by the 
Supreme Commander from the French 
contingent or liaison mission connected 
with military operations in France. A 
French Military Mission for Civil Affairs 
was to be invited to Supreme Headquar- 
ters and associated in the direction of civil 
affairs once operations started. To make 
certain that the French would have a free 
choice in establishing their government, 
the Supreme Commander was to hold the 
scales even between all French groups 
sympathetic to the Allied cause. The Allies 
stated categorically that the Supreme 
Commander would have no dealings with 
the Vichy regime "except for the purpose 
of liquidating it," and would keep no per- 
son in office who had willfully collaborated 
with the enemy or deliberately acted in a 
hostile manner toward the Allied cause. 8 

This proposal displeased the French 
Committee of National Liberation. Its 
members felt that they had played the 
major part in French Resistance and were 
the persons best prepared to take over the 

8 Barker to Morgan, 23 and 30 Aug 43, Barker per- 
sonal file; Annex 5 to Moscow Gonf Min (U.S. title 
"Civil Affairs for France"; British title, "Basic Scheme 
for Administration of Liberated France"), 1 Nov 43, 
OPD 337. General Hilldring and General Devers 
had discussed phases of this paper in cables of 1 1 and 
23 October 1943, and General Hilldring circulated 
an undated and unsigned copy of the document in 
question. These papers may be found in SHAEF SGS 
014.1 France, Civil Affairs Dir for France, I. 



RELATIONS WITH THE OCCUPIED COUNTRIES 



143 



reins of government in France once it was 
liberated. At the end of September 1943 
they had placed all political authority of 
the French Committee as the future gov- 
ernment of France in the hands of General 
de Gaulle. General de Gaulle, in turn, had 
specifically charged M. Andre Philip, as 
Commissioner of Interior, with the duty of 
setting up civil administration in liberated 
France. In October M. Philip informed 
Allied leaders in London of the intentions 
of his group. He also explained that, when 
a military liaison mission was appointed to 
SHAEF, it would represent the French 
Committee and not the military com- 
mander in chief. General Giraud would 
control French forces engaged in conti- 
nental operations and any zone of the 
armies which might be established. As 
soon as possible after liberation, however, 
the liberated areas were to pass over to the 
zone of interior and would be adminis- 
tered by M. Philip. The Resistance groups 
then under the Council of Resistance 
would be expected to come under French 
political authority rather than under the 
French commander in chief. M. Philip in- 
dicated that one of the main duties of 
French Resistance forces at the time of the 
invasion would be to protect power sta- 
tions and industrial property. He felt that, 
since the Germans would probably evac- 
uate France soon after the landings, it was 
more important for the French Committee 
to concentrate on administering liberated 
areas rather than on taking measures 
against the enemy. 9 

This stress on political rather than mili- 
tary preparations strengthened Mr. Roose- 
velt's suspicion of General de Gaulle and 
the French Committee. On his way to the 
Cairo Conference, the President pointed 
out that de Gaulle would be just behind 
the armies when they penetrated into 
France and that his faction would take 



over as rapidly as the armies advanced. 
These views of French intentions were ap- 
parently responsible for President Roose- 
velt's insistence in November on changing 
the existing military plan for an emer- 
gency invasion (Rankin), so that the 
United States would have no responsibility 
for occupying France in case of German 
collapse or sudden withdrawal from that 
country. 10 

The British, friendlier to the claims of 
the French Committee of National Libera- 
tion than the United States and seemingly 
more realistic about the extent to which 
that group represented the French people, 
proposed in December that the committee 
be placed on a governmental level with 
the United States and Great Britain. The 
State Department was willing to accept 
only an alternative British suggestion that 
the Allies draw up with the French neces- 
sary plans for civil affairs in metropolitan 
liberated areas. At the end of April the 
President reiterated his strong opposition 
to dealing with the French Committee on 
any save a military basis. "It is my desire 
at the present time," he told General 
Marshall, "that the military questions 
which involve the French forces be han- 
dled directly between the Allied Com- 
mander in Chief and French military 
authorities and not as one sovereign gov- 
ernment in full possession of its sovereignty 
and another government which has no de 
facto sovereignty." 11 

The French Committee had presented a 



9 "Summary of views expressed by M. Andre 
Philip in London, Oct 43," with comments by Gen 
Barker to Ambassador Phillips, 27 Oct 43, Barker 
papers. 

10 Memo by T. T. H. (Handy), 19 Nov 43, sub: 
Rankin; Memo by Col G. A. Lincoln, 23 Nov 43 
Both in OPD Exec 9, Bks 1 1 , 1 3. Mtg, President and 
JCS, at sea, 19Nov43;JCS 547/2. 

11 Dunn to Phillips, 4 Dec 43, with Incl, British 
proposals, Barker papers; Roosevelt to Marshall, 28 
Apr 44, ABC 090.771 France (6 Oct 43), Sec 1-A. 



144 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



draft agreement on civil administration to 
the U.S. and British representatives in Al- 
giers on 7 September 1943. When no ac- 
tion had been taken by the Allies by early 
January 1944, the French Commissioner 
of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Rene Massigli, 
warned that if no agreement was made be- 
fore D Day the Allies would face the alter- 
natives of dealing with the Vichy govern- 
ment or establishing a regime of direct 
administration. Either of these, he added, 
would cause profound confusion among 
the French people. 12 

The Supreme Commander and his staff 
were thoroughly aware of the dangers in- 
volved in allowing this and other questions 
to drag on after the cross-Channel attack. 
They had been told by French sources in 
late December 1943 that the youth of 
France favored de Gaulle because they felt 
that he was "the reincarnation of the spirit 
of resistance to Germany and not because 
of any allegiance to him, of whose short- 
comings they are fully aware." General 
Smith, who disavowed any pro-Gaullist 
sentiments, felt in early January 1944 that 
there was no better vehicle to use in deal- 
ing with liberated France than the French 
Committee. He hoped, if no agreement 
could be reached with it, that at least a 
French official would be selected who 
could handle civil affairs in France pend- 
ing an election in that country. 13 

General Eisenhower, while in Washing- 
ton in early January, gained the impres- 
sion that the President and War and State 
Department officials were willing for him 
to deal with the French Committee of Na- 
tional Liberation. On his arrival in Lon- 
don, he urged the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff to take prompt action for the crystal- 
lization of civil affairs administration in 
France, and requested that General de 
Gaulle be asked to designate individuals 



with whom SHAEF could enter into im- 
mediate negotiations in London. Mr. 
Churchill suggested caution, not only be- 
cause he doubted that President Roosevelt 
would accept the committee as the domi- 
nant French authority, but because of his 
personal objection to "the crude appeal to 
General de Gaulle to designate individuals 
or groups of individuals" for negotiations 
in London. If the French Committee of 
National Liberation was to be taken into 
immediate partnership, the Allies should 
be careful about individuals selected for 
negotiations, and make certain they were 
acceptable to both sides. 14 

The Civil Affairs Division of the War 
Department in late January leaned to- 
ward the use of the French Committee of 
National Liberation in civil affairs mat- 
ters, but in March it directed SHAEF to 
drop any planning based on this sugges- 
tion. In mid-March President Roosevelt 
sent a directive representing his views and 
approved by the State and War Depart- 
ments to Secretary Stimson for transmittal 
to the Supreme Commander. The directive 
resembled in many respects the views on 
civil affairs submitted by the United States 
and Great Britain at the Moscow Confer- 
ence. The initial proposal to appoint a 
French director for civil affairs was elimi- 
nated, and the Supreme Commander was 
empowered to decide "where, when and 
how the civil administration of France" 
should be exercised by French citizens. He 

12 Ltr, Massigli to Wilson, 6 Jan 44, SHAEF SGS 
092 France, French Relations, I. 

13 Rpt from French sources, 20 Dec 43, McClure 
jnl, 20 Dec 43; Smith to Hilldring, W-9500, 7 Jan 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 

14 Eisenhower to CCS, B-15, 19 Jan 44, SHAEF 
SGS 014.1 France, Civil Affairs Dir for France, I; JSM 
to Br COS, DON 145, 22 Jan 44, COS (44) 21st Mtg, 
24 Jan 44; Minute by Prime Minister for Br COS, 
COS (44) 73 (0), 25 Jan 44, SHAEF SGS 092 France, 
French Relations, I. 



RELATIONS WITH THE OCCUPIED COUNTRIES 



145 



was permitted to consult with the French 
Committee of National Liberation and at 
his discretion to allow it to select and in- 
stall officials needed for civil administra- 
tion, subject to the distinct understanding 
that this action did not constitute recogni- 
tion of the committee as the government of 
France. The Supreme Commander was to 
require from the French Committee of 
National Liberation, or from any other 
group with which he might negotiate, 
guarantees that (1) it had no intention of 
exercising the powers of government in- 
definitely, (2) it favored the re-establish- 
ment of all French liberties, and (3) it 
would take no action to entrench itself 
pending the selection of a constitutional 
government by free choice of the French 
people. The Vichy government was spe- 
cifically excluded from the groups with 
which General Eisenhower might deal. 
The Supreme Commander was to be 
guided in all his actions by three para- 
mount aims: (1) the prompt and com- 
plete defeat of Germany, (2) the earliest 
possible liberation of France, and (3) "the 
fostering of democratic methods and con- 
ditions under which a French government 
may ultimately be established according 
to the free choice of the French people as 
the government under which they wish to 
live." 15 

In late March 1944, the President au- 
thorized Ambassador Edwin C. Wilson, 
who was returning from Washington to 
Algiers, to give General de Gaulle the fol- 
lowing message: if General Eisenhower 
decided to deal with the French Commit- 
tee of National Liberation, it was likely 
that he would continue that relationship 
provided the committee did a good job, 
refrained from extreme measures, kept 
good order, and co-operated with the mili- 
tary authorities. Both this statement and 



the earlier draft directive were unilateral 
actions by the President without specific 
British sanction. Mr. Roosevelt held, how- 
ever, that the matter had been settled and 
was later nettled by the insistence of Gen- 
eral Smith, General Holmes, and other 
SHAEF officials that a positive agreement 
still had to be made between the Allies and 
the French Committee of National Libera- 
tion. 16 

The French Committee of National 
Liberation continued to press its claims to 
act as the government of liberated France. 
On 14 March it provided for the appoint- 
ment of a delegate to exercise all regula- 
tory and administrative powers of the 
French Committee in liberated French 
territory until the committee could handle 
these functions directly. Four days later 
General de Gaulle informed the Consulta- 
tive Assembly in Algiers of the efforts to 
reach agreements on civil affairs with the 
British and U.S. Governments and added 
that the committee did not have a voice in 
foreign affairs commensurate with its obli- 
gations. Apparently weary of Allied delay, 
he declared on 27 March, "France, who 
brought freedom to the world and who has 
been, and still remains, its champion, does 
not need to consult outside opinions to 
reach a decision on how she will reconsti- 
tute liberty at home." A week later, he 
said: "Wherever they may be and what- 
ever may happen, Frenchmen must accept 

16 Ltr, Smith to Ismay, 23 Jan 44; Note, Ismay to 
Br COS, 24 Jan 44; JSM to Br COS, DON 145, 23 
Jan 44; Prime Minister to Br COS, COS (44) 73 (0), 
25 Jan 44; Hilldring to Eisenhower, 233, 5 Mar 44; 
Marshall to Eisenhower, 324, 17 Mar 44 (original 
letter from Roosevelt to Secy War, 15 Mar 44, CofS 
091 France). All in SHAEF SGS 092 France, French 
Relations, I. 

"' Memo of conversation with President by Am- 
bassador Wilson, 24 Mar 44, SHAEF SGS 092 
France, French Relations, I. Interv with Gen Holmes, 
13 May 47. 



146 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



orders only from this Government from 
the moment they are no longer personally 
subjected to enemy coercion. No authority 
is valid unless it acts in the name of this 
Government." The general restated this 
view on 21 April when he said in an inter- 
view that the establishment of the admin- 
istration of France could be assured only 
by the French people. "The only point 
open for discussion is that of the collabora- 
tion to be assured between the French 
Administration and the inter- Allied mili- 
tary authorities." 17 

Apparently with an eye to allaying Al- 
lied fears as to the future intentions of the 
French Committee, the Consultative As- 
sembly on 30 March adopted an ordi- 
nance providing for the election of a Con- 
stituent Assembly by universal suffrage 
within one year after the complete libera- 
tion of France. After elections were held 
in two thirds of the metropolitan depart- 
ments, including the Seine, the Provisional 
Consultative Assembly was to become the 
Provisional Representative Assembly, to 
which the French Committee would sur- 
render its power. These proposals were 
accepted by the French Committee on 21 
April 1944. 18 Some ofthe reassuring effects 
of this action were lost a few days later 
when the French Committee of National 
Liberation in early April gave de Gaulle 
final authority in matters relating to 
French armed forces. General Giraud, 
who felt that he had been reduced to the 
position of a figurehead, announced his 
intention of resigning as head of the French 
forces, although General Devers and Am- 
bassador Duff Cooper tried to dissuade 
him. He refused the committee's proffer of 
the post of Inspector General of the French 
Armies and announced that he would go 
into retirement. 19 

Still seeking a formal agreement with 



the French, SHAEFwas encouraged on 9 
April when Secretary of State Hull de- 
clared that it was "of the utmost impor- 
tance that civil authority in France should 
be exercised by Frenchmen, should be 
swiftly established, and should operate in 
accordance with advanced planning as 
fully as military operations will permit." 
Although the United States could not rec- 
ognize the French Committee of National 
Liberation as the government of France, 
Mr. Hull added, the President was dis- 
posed "to see the French Committee for 
National Liberation exercise leadership to 
establish law and order under the super- 
vision of the Allied Commander-in-Chief." 
The Prime Minister, assuming that this 
declaration changed previous U.S. policy, 
promptly approved it. 20 

General Koenig, who had become 
senior French commander in the United 
Kingdom in April, and General Eisen- 



17 Ordinance Concerning the Exercise of Military 
and Civil Powers on the Territory of France as It 
Becomes Liberated, French Com of National Libera- 
tion, 14 Mar 44; Translations of speeches by Political 
Info Sec, U.S. Naval Hq, French Series 17, Plans for 
Future Administration of Liberated French Territory, 
9 May 44. French texts approved by General 
de Gaulle may be seen in Charles de Gaulle, Discours 
et Messages, 1940-46 (Paris, 1946). 

18 Draft Ordinance on Return to Republican Gov- 
ernment in France After Liberation, SHAEF SGS 092 
France, French Relations, I. The draft included com- 
ments by Mr. Charles Peake, British political officer 
at SHAEF, who feared that the Resistance organiza- 
tions might be trying to organize a dictatorship in 
France. 

19 Wilson to CCS, NAF 661, 4 Apr 44; Wilson to 
CCS, NAF 662, 5 Apr 44; Wilson to CCS, NAF 669, 
8 Apr 44. All in SHAEF SGS 092 France, French 
Relations, I. 

20 Memo, William Phillips for CofS SHAEF, 4 Apr 
44, sub: Presidential Paper on France; Memo, Gen 
McClure for CofS SHAEF, 5 Apr 44, sub: Draft Dir 
(French); Memo, Gen McClure for CofS SHAEF, 1 1 
Apr 44, sub: Planning With the French. All in SHAEF 
SGS 092 France, French Relations, I. Churchill to 
Roosevelt, 643, 1 2 Apr 44, OPD misc file. London 
Times, April 10, 1944. 



RELATIONS WITH THE OCCUPIED COUNTRIES 



147 



hower saw in Hull's statement a formula 
that could be translated into a workable 
agreement. The Supreme Commander 
asked the Combined Chiefs of Staff for 
authority to initiate conversations with 
Koenig on such matters as civilian labor, 
banks and security exchanges, transfer of 
property, custody of enemy property, pub- 
lic safety, public health, civilian supply, 
and displaced persons. He declared that 
he would not go beyond the limitations set 
by the President, as interpreted by Secre- 
tary Hull. While waiting for action by the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff, which he was 
not to get before D Day, the Supreme 
Commander permitted Generals Grasett 
and Morgan to begin informal discussions 
with General Koenig and his staff. At the 
first meeting on 25 April, General Koenig 
asked that questions involving the sover- 
eignty of France be put aside until later. 21 
Representatives from SHAEF, 21 Army 
Group, 1st U.S. Army Group, AFHQ, 
the European Contact Section, and the 
French Military Mission then agreed to 
establish special committees to consider 
the numerous civil affairs problems. 22 

Unfortunately, the French Committee 
suspended these informal meetings shortly 
after they started. Its action was in protest 
against a British announcement, made for 
security reasons at the insistence of the 
British Chiefs of Staff and the Supreme 
Commander, that from 17 April all foreign 
diplomatic representatives save those from 
the United States and Russia would be 
barred from sending or receiving uncen- 
sored communications. 23 The French 
Committee of National Liberation refused 
to submit to this censorship. The resultant 
lack of communications between the 
French Committee in Algiers and its mis- 
sion in London made virtually impossible 
any formal agreement before D Day. Dur- 



ing this period, however, General de 
Gaulle told an American correspondent 
that, although he was concerned over 
French relations with President Roosevelt, 
he believed negotiations between Generals 
Koenig and Eisenhower would "go well 
because of Eisenhower' s friendly disposi- 
tion toward France." The French general 
took a conciliatory line in confining his 
requests for lifting the censorship to cables 
concerning operational preparations of in- 
terest to the French. Reassured by this atti- 
tude, President Roosevelt agreed to leave 
the matter to Mr. Churchill's discretion. 
Arrangements were made whereby British 
and U.S. authorities examined French 
cables before they were dispatched from 
London and then permitted them to be 
sent in French code on General Koenig' s 
assurance that no change would be made 
in the original text. 24 

Even before an agreement was worked 
out which might permit the reopening of 
discussions between SHAEF and the 
French representatives, Mr. Hull and the 
President had made clear that the Hull 
formula of 9 April could not be interpreted 
as a basic change in Mr. Roosevelt' s view 
toward de Gaulle and the French Com- 
mittee. Mr. Hull defined his position on 1 1 

21 The original minutes translated his proposal as 
an agreement that the question of French sovereignty 
would be dealt with later on. The minutes were cor- 
rected at General Koenig' s request. 

22 Eisenhower to CCS, SCAF 15, 20 Apr 44; 
SHAEF SGS to AFHQ S-50937, 29 Apr 44; Min of 
Mtg at Norfolk House, 25 Apr 44, dtd 26 Apr 44, and 
correction of min, 9 May 44. All in SHAEF SGS 092 
France, French Relations, I. 

23 Brooke to Eisenhower, 17 Apr 44, SHAEF SGS 
311.7/1 Stoppage of Diplomatic Communications. 

24 De Gaulle interv with unnamed American re- 
porter, cited in State Dept cbl to Eisenhower, 20 May 
44, Diary Office CinC, 20 and 22 May 44. Koenig to 
Grasett, 16 May 44; Roosevelt to Churchill, 542, 
20 May 44; Churchill note to Foreign Secy, 23 May 
44. All in SHAEF SGS 092 France, French Rela- 
tions, I. 



148 




GENERAL DE GAULLE 



May with a statement to the British Am- 
bassador in Washington that there seemed 
to be a tendency of the British Government 
to use his speech of 9 April "exclusively as 
their formula for dealing with French 
civil affairs even though the President 
had declined to modify the suggested di- 
rective to General Eisenhower which was 
stronger than my speech in some respects. 
The danger of such a tendency and of em- 
ploying words as a substitute formula was 
pointed out by me from the point of view 
of working relations between the Prime 
Minister and the President." Two days 
later the President reiterated to General 
Eisenhower his views on dealing with de 
Gaulle. Agreeing that the Supreme Com- 
mander had full authority to discuss mat- 
ters with the French Committee on a mili- 
tary level, the President emphasized his 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 

personal opposition to any action at a 
political level, since he was unable to rec- 
ognize any government of France until the 
French people had an opportunity to make 
a free choice. Alluding again to his familiar 
figure of speech that the French were still 
shell-shocked from their war experience, 
the President insisted, "We have no right 
to color their views or to give any group 
the sole right to impose one side of a case 
on them." 25 

The President's message of mid-May 
had been prompted by General Eisen- 
hower's request that he be allowed to in- 
form General Koenig of the date and place 
of the Overlord attack and that General 
de Gaulle be brought to London for a D- 
Day broadcast to the French people in 
behalf of the Allies. The British Chiefs of 
Staff had objected to the first proposal as a 
violation of the Combined Chiefs of Staff 
instructions of 1 April forbidding the re- 
lease of information to the French which 
might compromise the Overlord opera- 
tion. General Eisenhower, describing his 
position as embarrassing and "potentially 
dangerous," suggested that the difficulty 
be met by inviting General de Gaulle to 
London where he could be briefed on 
Overlord. President Roosevelt agreed 
that General de Gaulle could be briefed 
provided he did not return to Algiers until 
after the invasion had been launched. Mr. 
Roosevelt had then added his warning 
against discussions with the French chief 
on a political level. 26 



25 Hull to U.S. Ambassador, London, 1 1 May 44, 
SHAEF SGS 092 France, French Relations, I. Roose- 
velt to Eisenhower, W-36054, 13 May 44; Marshall 
to Eisenhower, W-36189, 13 May 44. Both in Eisen- 
hower personal file. 

26 Eisenhower to CCS, SCAF 24, 1 1 May 44; Roose- 
velt to Eisenhower, W-36054, 13 May 44; Marshall 
to Eisenhower, W-36189; 13 May 44;"Smith to Mar- 
shall, 14 May 44. All in Eisenhower personal file. 



RELATIONS WITH THE OCCUPIED COUNTRIES 



149 



The proposal to bring General de 
Gaulle to London for a briefing on Over- 
lord continued to hang fire until near the 
end of May. After the President's state- 
ment that the French general could be 
briefed only if he agreed to come to Lon- 
don and stayed until after the invasion, the 
Prime Minister indicated that to invite 
de Gaulle under conditions he would 
probably regard as insulting would be un- 
wise. Late in May, SHAEF stressed the 
importance of having the French general 
appeal to the French to support Allied 
Forces under the Supreme Commander, 
and Mr. Churchill agreed that de Gaulle 
should be invited to London. 27 

On his arrival in the United Kingdom 
on 4 June, General de Gaulle was shown 
a message the SHAEF Psychological War- 
fare Division had prepared for him to de- 
liver on D Day. He agreed to speak along 
the lines SHAEF outlined but refused to 
use the prepared speech, on the grounds 
that it stressed too strongly French obedi- 
ence to the Allied Command and made no 
mention of the Algiers committee. This re- 
action was responsible for a comic opera 
prelude to the invasion which saw Gen- 
eral Smith, Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart, 
General McClure, Foreign Secretary An- 
thony Eden, and Mr. Churchill arguing 
the question with the recalcitrant general. 
A series of cables to Washington charted 
the progress of the discussion with bulletins 
to the effect that "General de Gaulle will 
speak," "General de Gaulle will not 
speak," and "the General has changed his 
mind." The Allied leaders sought to con- 
vince de Gaulle that his standing in 
France would be damaged if it became 
known that he was in London and had re- 
fused to add his voice to those of the heads 
of the governments-in-exile who were also 
scheduled to speak to their peoples on the 




GENERAL KOENIG 

day of the attack. General de Gaulle's re- 
quest that the Supreme Commander 
change his D-Day appeal to mention the 
French Committee could not be satisfied, 
since the text had been approved in Lon- 
don and Washington, and recordings had 
been made for broadcasting. The Allies 
finally agreed that General de Gaulle 
could make such an allusion in his speech. 
Despite this concession it was not until the 
early morning of 6 June that the French 
general at last agreed to speak. The final 
text represented a victory by General de 
Gaulle in that it stated that the first con- 
dition for the French was to follow the in- 



27 Roosevelt to Churchill, 542, 20 May 44; Church- 
ill to Foreign Secy, 23 May 44; Churchill to Foreign 
Secy, 26 May 44. All in SHAEF SGS 092 France, 
French Relations, I. London Times, May 27, 1944. 



150 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



structions of their government and their 
chiefs in the battle that lay ahead and 
made no special effort to emphasize the 
authority of the Allied Command. 28 

Fortunately for the success of the civil 
affairs program in France, SHAEF and 
the subordinate commands had proceeded 
to establish working arrangements with 
French representatives at nonpolitical 
levels. A number of the officials General 
de Gaulle planned to use in Normandy as 
soon as the area was liberated were in the 
United Kingdom, and many of them were 
in contact with British and U.S. civil af- 
fairs representatives. The French liaison 
officers that were in training in the United 
Kingdom for their future assignments with 
the British and U.S. civil affairs detach- 
ments were concerned at the moment less 
with the question of political sovereignty 
than with their task of getting the civilian 
organization of the liberated areas back 
into operation as soon as possible after the 
Allies were ashore. Thus the lack of close 
relationship between the French Commit- 
tee and the British and U.S. Governments 
was less serious than it might at first ap- 
pear. It was perhaps especially helpful that 
2 1 Army Group, which could be expected 
to reflect the British Government's willing- 
ness to make some concessions to the 
French Committee, was charged with re- 
sponsibility for civil affairs activities during 
the first phase of operations in France. 

The Command and Use of French Troops 

Among the subjects which the French 
and the Allies did not settle during the 
pre-D-Day period was the command of 
French troops. Fortunately for the Su- 
preme Commander, agreements made in 
early 1943 laid the basis for raising and 
arming French units to support Allied op- 



erations. President Roosevelt had agreed, 
in principle, at the Casablanca Conference 
to arm eight infantry and three armored 
divisions for the French. The eleven divi- 
sions, to be employed under the Allied 
commander in chief against the common 
enemy, were to be equipped by the United 
States and organized according to U.S. 
Tables of Organization and Equipment. 
The existing Gaullist forces, roughly 
15,000 strong, had been equipped and 
supplied by the British since 1940. The 
British continued to maintain them until 
all French forces were fused in 1943. The 
total number of divisions to be equipped 
by the United States was reduced to five 
infantry and three armored divisions on 
the recommendation of General Eisen- 
hower, who felt that the French could not 
provide sufficient supply units for eleven 
divisions organized aceording to U.S. 
models. As the divisions were equipped 
they were committed in the Mediter- 
ranean, five of them being employed be- 
fore the summer of 1944. All plans for the 
invasion of southern France in 1944 relied 
heavily on the use of French forces, and, as 
a result, the Allies laid little emphasis on 
committing anything more than a token 
French force in the cross-Channel attack. 29 
Difficulties arose between the Allies and 
the French Committee of National Libera- 
tion in the winter of 1943, when the com- 
mittee refused to send the 9th Colonial 
Infantry Division to Italy, despite orders 
of General Giraud, commander of French 



28 Intervs with Gen de Gaulle, 14 Jan 47, Sir 
Robert Bruce Lockhart, 18 Feb 47, Gen McClure, 29 
Mar 47, and Gen Smith, 12 May 47; Gen McClure's 
jnl for May 44; de Gaulle, Discours et Messages, pp. 
442-44 (text of speech). 

29 This introductory section has been based largely 
on Dr. Marcel Vigneras' monograph on Rearmament 
of the French Forces in World War II, now in prep- 
aration in the Office of the Chief of Military History. 



RELATIONS WITH THE OCCUPIED COUNTRIES 



151 



Forces. This refusal, resulting from fric- 
tion between the committee and General 
Giraud and not between the committee 
and the Allied commander in chief, still 
threatened to interfere with Allied opera- 
tions. General Eisenhower warned Gen- 
eral Giraud at this point that the United 
States would not continue to arm French 
units unless the committee gave assurances 
that its actions would be governed in the 
future by military rather than political 
considerations. 30 

A conference on the use of French 
troops was held in Algiers at the end of 
December by British and U.S. diplomatic 
and military representatives and French 
officers in General de Gaulle's office. The 
way to a firm agreement was paved by 
General Smith's assurance that French 
units would play a key role in the landings 
in southern France and that a token 
French force, preferably a division, would 
be used in northern France, particularly 
in the area near Paris. On 30 December 
M. Massigli informed U.S. Ambassador 
Wilson and British representative Harold 
MacMillan that General Smith's state- 
ments had satisfied the chief "anxieties" 
of the French Committee, and that it had 
now decided "to put the French Forces 
mentioned above at the disposition of the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff, to be used by 
the Allied commander in chief, in consul- 
tation with the French Command, for the 
execution of the operations of which the 
broad outlines have been given." He urged 
the Allied representatives to forward to 
their governments for speedy approval the 
draft directive for over-all command of 
French forces which he had presented 
three days earlier. 31 

The U.S. and British diplomatic repre- 
sentatives accepted M. Massigli's state- 
ment as settling the question of command 



of French forces to be used from the Medi- 
terranean. They found it more difficult to 
agree to the French Committee's reserva- 
tion of the right to intervene with the 
British and U.S. Governments and the Al- 
lied commander in chief in order to insure 
that the allotment of French forces should 
take French interests "into account as 
completely as possible." The Combined 
Chiefs of Staff refused to consider relations 
on a governmental level between the 
French Committee of National Liberation 
and the United States and Great Britain. 32 

Members of the British Government 
were inclined to give some backing to the 
French Committee's claim. President 
Roosevelt, who considered the tone of the 
French replies dictatorial, in late April in- 
structed General Marshall to see that 
questions involving French forces were 
handled between the Allied commanders 
in chief and the French military authori- 
ties. In mid- May, the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff ordered General Wilson to present 
the draft, as amended by the Allies, to the 
French Committee of National Liberation 
for signature. 33 

The French, already offended by the sus- 
pension of the right to use their diplomatic 
cipher in sending messages from the 

30 Eisenhower to Giraud, 14 Dec 43, text sent to 
CCS on following day, SHAEF SGS 475 France, Re- 
armament and Employment of French Forces, Policies 
and Agreements, I. 

31 Algiers to War Dept, NAF 578, 4 Jan 44, cites 
Massigli to Wilson message, 30 Dec 43, ABC 091.7 1 1 
France (6 Oct 43), Sec I-A. 

32 Eisenhower to CCS, NAF 578, 4 Jan 44; Wilson 
to CCS, NAF 625, 22 Feb 44; CCS to Wilson, FAN 
343, 12 Mar 44. All in SHAEF SGS 475 France, Re- 
armament, Command and Employment of French 
Forces, Policies and Agreements, I. 

33 JCS 804/2, 22 Apr 44; copy of French message, 
3 Apr 44; Roosevelt to Prime Minister (paraphrase), 
8 Apr 44; JCS 804/4, 29 Apr 44, with Incl, Note, 
Roosevelt to Marshall, 28 Apr 44; CCS to Wilson, 
FAN 343 (12 Mar 44), 18 May 44. All in ABC 
091.711 France (6 Oct 43), Sec I-A. 



152 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



United Kingdom, were in no mood to 
yield on the directive. As a result no agree- 
ment for over-all command of French 
forces was concluded before the invasion of 
northwest Europe. Inasmuch as no French 
forces were to be committed in the assault, 
the lack of a formal agreement was not of 
immediate importance. Further, General 
Eisenhower had declared in North Africa 
that unless his orders were obeyed, the 
supply of French units would cease. 34 

French Resistance 

In his efforts to guarantee the success of 
the D-Day landings, General Eisenhower 
drew on the support of the Resistance or- 
ganizations, which had been developed in 
France since 1940. Organized spontane- 
ously inside France these groups gave their 
allegiance to various leaders. By D Day 
they were divided into five movements: 
L'Armee Secrete, which consisted of four 
groups in the northern and three in the 
southern zone; the Maquis, made up of 
young men who had fled to the mountains 
of the Haute-Savoie to avoid German 
forced labor drafts; the Francs Tireurs et 
Partisans, a Communist-controlled para- 
military section of the Communist Front 
National, which had affiliated with L'Armee 
Secrete; and Groupe de I'Armee, which was 
Giraudist in sympathy and made up 
largely of members of the demobilized 
Vichy army. L'Armee Secrete was the largest 
of the movements. It was governed by the 
Conseil National de la Resistance in Paris, un- 
der the guidance of the Bureau Central 
de Renseignements et d'Action (Militaire) 
(BCRA), which had branches in London 
and Algiers. The Bureau acted on orders 
from the French Committee in Algiers. 35 

The whole Resistance movement was 
initially encouraged and co-ordinated by 



the Special Operations Executive (SOE) 
set up by the British early in the war to 
encourage patriot movements in occupied 
countries throughout the world. The or- 
ganization, headed by Maj. Gen. Colin 
Gubbins, was a responsibility of the Min- 
istry of Economic Warfare. The British 
Government furnished men, transport, 
and material for Resistance groups, and 
the Special Operations Executive, the 
War Office, and the Admiralty controlled 
special operations relating to the Resist- 
ance forces. 36 They dealt with L'Armee 
Secrete through a Gaullist-controlled bu- 
reau in London. The other units acted 
either directly or through missions or com- 
mittees appointed by the Giraudists and 
other special groups. 

The Special Operations Executive had 
initiated small-scale operations in France 
in the spring of 1941, but its plans for ex- 
tensive use of Resistance forces in 1942 



34 Note, Gen Eisenhower, 1 1 Jun 51, OCMH files. 

35 Mtg at Norfolk House, 9 Mar 44, dtd 28 Mar 44; 
Jt Int Sub-Corn Rpt on French Resistance, 19 Apr 
44. Both in SHAEF SGS 370.64 France, French Re- 
sistance (Guerilla Warfare), I. The various branches 
of the Bureau were abbreviated as BCRA, BCRAL, 
BCRAA. Apparently the London group at one time 
was also abbreviated BRAL. Since the London 
branch was the more important as far as SHAEF 
was concerned, it is that branch to which this volume 
will refer and the abbreviation BCRAL will be used 
hereafter. 

36 For a discussion of SOE and its work, see Maj. 
Gen. Sir Colin Gubbins, "Resistance Movements in 
the War," Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, 
XC11I (May, 1948), 210-23. For a detailed study of 
the Resistance movement see The French Forces of 
the Interior, prep in French Resistance Unit, Hist 
Sec, ETOUSA, 1944, MS, OCMH files. The author 
is also indebted for comments on these and other mat- 
ters dealing with the French to a special memoran- 
dum by Capt. Tracy B. Kittredge, USNR, who read 
the initial draft section on French Resistance. Cap- 
tain Kittredge, who as a member of Admiral Stark's 
staff in London served as interpreter in many inter- 
views with the French leaders, emphasized the im- 
portant role played by those Resistance units which 
were not controlled by the French Committee. 



RELATIONS WITH THE OCCUPIED COUNTRIES 



153 



had been postponed when the projected 
invasion was shifted from northern France 
to the Mediterranean. Early in 1943, plan- 
ning for the use of French Resistance forces 
was again emphasized. In the summer of 
that year, the United States established a 
Special Operations Branch of the Office of 
Strategic Services in London to aid in 
Resistance planning. 37 

COSSAC, seeing no immediate need for 
Resistance plans in the spring and summer 
of 1943, gave little supervision to the ac- 
tivities of the British and U.S. special op- 
erations sections before the fall of that year 
although these groups maintained liaison 
with COSSAC. After the outline plans 
for Overlord and Rankin had been 
completed, General Morgan extended 
COSSAC's control over the work of the 
special operations sections. In October 

1943 the British Chiefs of Staff placed un- 
der the Supreme Commander (designate) 
the Special Operations Executive activities 
in his sphere of operations, and in Novem- 
ber the U.S. Chiefs of Staff gave him simi- 
lar authority over the Special Operations 
Branch of the Office of Strategic Services. 
In the following March, the two organiza- 
tions, headed by Brigadier E. F. Mockler- 
Ferryman (SOE), and Col. Joseph F. 
Haskell (SO), took the title of Special 
Force Headquarters (SFHQ). 38 

Steps were also taken in the spring of 

1944 to co-ordinate Allied Resistance op- 
erations with the French Committee of 
National Liberation and French Regular 
Army forces. Gen. Francois d'Astier de la 
Vigerie, who had been representing the 
French Committee in the United King- 
dom since 1943, was directed to (1) par- 
ticipate in the planning of Resistance op- 
erations, (2) maintain liaison with the 
French Military Mission in London and 
with the Supreme Commander, (3) super- 



vise special operations carried out in 
France from bases in Great Britain, (4) act 
as representative of the French Committee 
of National Liberation to the Supreme 
Commander in all matters concerning 
military administration in the northern 
theater of operations, and (5) act as mili- 
tary representative of the French Commit- 
tee of National Liberation in London. 39 

General Koenig replaced General 
d'Astier de la Vigerie in March 1944. 
Near the end of April, Koenig announced 
the organization of the Supreme Com- 
mand of French Forces in Great Britain 
and the European Theater of Operations. 
He created a general staff of the French 
Forces of the Interior and of Administra- 
tive Liaison (FILA). The staff included 
two executive branches, one, BCRAL, for 
Resistance work, and the other, Mission 
Militaire Liaison Administrative (MMLA), 
for liberated territories. 

Meanwhile, the Supreme Commander 
on 23 March 1944 had assumed control 
over all special operations in his sphere of 
activity. A special section of SHAEF G-3 
was directed to take responsibility for these 
operations. SHAEF' s control included 
general direction and planning, instruc- 
tions as to target priorities, reduction or 
increase of activities to conform to the Su- 
preme Commander's plans, and directions 

37 First draft of operational dir in SOE/SO, Jan 
44, SHAEF G-3 Ops C 322-7, gives background in- 
formation. 

38 The period of 1942-44 is covered by Organiza- 
tion and Terms of Reference, SHAEF G-3 Ops C 
322-7 (1st, 2d, and 3d covers). See, in particular, 
SOE/OSS Outline Plan for Supporting Operation 
Overlord, 30 Aug 43; Gen Morgan, Proposal for 
Control by COSSAC of SOE/SO Activities in North- 
west Europe, 2 Oct 43; COS (43) 237th mtg, 15 Oct 
43; Hq ETOUSA SC file 370.2/Gen, 1 1 Nov 43. 

39 Extract of memorandum signed by General 
Giraud, laying down the duties of the senior French 
general officer in Great Britain, 24 January 1944, 
SHAEF SGS 092 France, French Relations, I. 



154 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



as to the effort to be expended on various 
activities. SHAEF's sphere of operations 
included Norway, Denmark, the Nether- 
lands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, 
northwest and southern Germany, and 
possibly Austria. An area in southern 
France was suballotted to the Mediter- 
ranean commander for operations in sup- 
port of the invasion of southern France. 40 
SHAEF-controlled operations were to be 
carried on mostly in France, both because 
they could be more effective there and be- 
cause the Allies preferred passive rather 
than active resistance in the occupied 
countries outside France during the inva- 
sion period. 41 

SHAEF required the special operations 
agencies to co-ordinate their activities with 
21 and 12th Army Groups and their as- 
sociated air and naval commanders. The 
activities included sabotage, measures to 
undermine the enemy's morale, and inter- 
ference with enemy military preparations. 
Special stress was to be placed on measures 
designed to aid the assault and on plans to 
be put into effect in case of a German with- 
drawal. SHAEF settled a jurisdictional 
dispute between the special operations and 
the psychological warfare agencies with its 
decision that the special operations groups 
could continue to distribute propaganda if 
such work did not affect adversely their 
other activities. Both the special operations 
and psychological warfare agencies were 
instructed to conform to basic plans pre- 
pared in accordance with SHAEF direc- 
tives. 42 

In late May, SHAEF found it necessary 
to issue still another directive on the co-or- 
dination of Resistance activities when a 
controversy developed between Special 
Force Headquarters and the commander 
of the Special Air Service. The latter 
group had been established under the con- 



trol of Lt. Gen. F. A. M. Browning, com- 
mander of Airborne Troops, 21 Army 
Group, to furnish trained troops to stiffen 
Resistance organizations in France. Gen- 
eral Browning, opposed to control of these 
forces by Special Force Headquarters, 
proposed in mid-May 1944 that a new 
headquarters be formed under SHAEF to 
co-ordinate the actions of Special Opera- 
tions Executive, Office of Strategic Serv- 
ices, Political Warfare Executive, and the 
Special Air Service. General Eisenhower 
refused, saying that Resistance was a 
strategic weapon which would be con- 
trolled by SHAEF through Special Force 
Headquarters. 43 

SHAEF, having accepted Resistance 
activities as a means of aiding the cross- 
Channel attack, set about early in 1944 
finding the means of supplying the Resist- 
ance forces with arms and sabotage 
material. Such a program had been out- 
lined back in 1941 and the British special 
operations groups had already worked out 
the pattern for getting such aid to France. 
Initial operations had consisted of little 
more than the parachuting of small arms 
and ammunition to isolated French 
groups, but they gradually became more 
ambitious. In the fall of 1943, the Allies 
began to develop special units of Allied 

40 On 20 May 1944 control of Resistance groups in 
southern France reverted to SHAEF by mutual agree- 
ment of the two commanders. SHAEF then issued 
general directives to the Mediterranean commander 
for action by him in support of the Normandy inva- 
sion and the proposed assault in southern France. 

41 Appendix to rpt of 29 Apr 44, Resistance in Bel- 
gium, Holland, Denmark, and Norway, SHAEF 
SGS 370.64 France, French Resistance Groups 
(Guerilla Warfare), I. 

42 SHAEF dirto SOE/SO, 23 Mar 44, SHAEF G-3 
Ops C 322-7. 

43 Ltr. Browning to Bull. 15 May 44: Lt Col J. H. 
Alms toBull, 19 May 44; Bull to Browning, 22-May 
44; SAC to 21 A Gp, Dir onjt opns by Resistance 
forces and SAS troops, 24 May 44. All in SHAEF G-3 
Ops C 322-7. 



RELATIONS WITH THE OCCUPIED COUNTRIES 



155 



officers and men to drop behind the 
enemy lines to aid in Resistance work. 
One type, called the "Jedburgh team," 
consisted of three commissioned or non- 
commissioned officers, one of whom was 
usually French. One member of each team 
was a radio operator and each team had 
its own means of communications. An- 
other type, called an "operational group" 
and made up of four officers and thirty en- 
listed men, was set up to attack military 
targets and public works and to aid Resist- 
ance elements. Five of these groups from 
England and six from North Africa were 
ultimately sent. Still a third type, Special 
Air Service, consisted of two British regi- 
ments, two French parachute battalions, 
and a Belgian Independent Company, 
some 2,000 men in all. Troops of this serv- 
ice were trained either to operate unas- 
sisted by Resistance forces, to augment 
Resistance forces, to provide headquarters 
elements andjunior leadership for a com- 
mand organization in Resistance localities, 
or to provide trained specialists for Resist- 
ance forces. 

In early February 1944, SHAEF be- 
came concerned over the lack of adequate 
airlift for the Resistance program. U.S. 
officers at SHAEF and in the Special Op- 
erations Branch of the Office of Strategic 
Services were worried in particular by the 
great difference in the number of British 
and U.S. planes assigned to supporting 
Resistance operations. The disparity be- 
tween the eighty-five British and fourteen 
U.S. aircraft used for this purpose in Feb- 
ruary 1944 was increased toward the end 
of the month when the British assigned 
additional aircraft to the special opera- 
tions units. Colonel Haskell, head of the 
Special Operations Branch, reported that, 
in terms of supplies and aircraft, aid to 
French Resistance was preponderantly 



British and would "quite rightly be recog- 
nized by the French as such." He con- 
trasted delays and difficulties in getting 
the promised U.S. planes with British 
action in making available their supple- 
mentary number of thirty-two Stirlings 
one week after they had been allocated. 44 

U.S. tardiness in furnishing aircraft, 
which Colonel Haskell, Ambassador Wil- 
liam Phillips, and others feared would be 
interpreted by the French as due to Amer- 
ican indifference, stemmed from the diffi- 
culty of fulfilling all of the U.S. strategic 
bombing commitments. In mid-January, 
it had been found that a priority system 
and a careful scheduling of operations 
were required if the heavy demands of the 
Special Intelligence Services, Special Op- 
erations, Psychological Warfare, and the 
proposed railway bombing program were 
to be filled. A special committee under 
Lord Selborne, Minister of Economic War- 
fare, undertook to regularize the use of air- 
craft for these various activities. 45 

Both General Spaatz and Air Chief 
Marshal Leigh-Mallory reminded SHAEF 
in mid-March that the Pointblank com- 
mitments left no additional aircraft for 
Resistance activities. Air Chief Marshal 
Tedder expressed strong doubts concerning 
"the merits of the SOE/SO request and 
the efficacy of the organization." 46 Un- 

*> Ltr, Haskell to Hq OSS, Washington, 22 Feb 44, 
SHAEF G-3 SOE/SO Ops C 322-7 Organization 
and Terms of Reference, 2d cover. 

45 For view of Ambassador Phillips, see note of 17 
Feb 44 in Memo, Bull for CofS, 18 Feb 44, SHAEF 
G-3 Ops C 322-7 SOE/SO Organization and Terms 
of Reference, 2d cover. Memo by Bull on mtg of 13 
Jan 44; Marshall to Eisenhower, 8 Mar 44; Eisen- 
hower to Marshall, B-270, 14 Mar 44. All in SHAEF 
SGS 370.64 France, French Resistance Groups 
(Guerilla Warfare), I. 

« Bull to Chief, Plans and Opns Sec, SHAEF G-3, 
9 Mar 44; Paper by Mockler-Ferryman and Haskell, 
27 Mar 44. Both in SHAEF SGS 370.64 France, 
French Resistance Groups (Guerilla Warfare), I. 



156 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



fortunately, General de Gaulle did not 
realize the factors involved in the U.S. 
failure to provide more aircraft. The State 
Department became sufficiently alarmed 
at his pointed references to British aid to 
warn General Eisenhower that the impres- 
sion was being spread that the United 
States was opposed on political grounds to 
arming French Resistance forces. The Su- 
preme Commander, at General Marshall's 
request, examined the situation on 1 May. 
He admitted that recent supplementary 
allotments of aircraft by the British had 
considerably changed the initial perma- 
nent allotment of thirty-two U.S. and 
twenty-two British aircraft. More British 
than U.S. supplies were being sent, he ex- 
plained, because British stockpiles were 
more easily available and because British 
articles of issue, having been furnished 
Resistance forces earlier, were more ac- 
ceptable to the French who were now 
accustomed to their use. General Eisen- 
hower asked for more personnel and 
means to equalize the contributions, and 
added that he would try to explain the 
U.S. position to General Koenig. 47 

Despite shortages in aircraft, the special 
operations agencies were successful in get- 
ting considerable quantities of supplies to 
the Resistance groups in France. By mid- 
April, an estimated 100,000 men had arms 
and ammunition. In the face of vigorous 
German countermeasures in 1943, and the 
efforts of a strong Vichy police system, 
estimated at 250,000, headed by Joseph 
Darnand, the Resistance movement con- 
tinued to be active. Besides supplying in- 
formation on the movement of German 
units, the Resistance forces conducted 
small-scale acts of sabotage. Their major 
effort was directed against the railways. 
Pre-D-Day intelligence reports pointed to 
the destruction or damage of 730 locomo- 



tives in a three-and-one-half month 
period. 48 To deal with this problem the 
Germans had been forced to increase their 
own railway employees in France from 
10,000 in January 1944 to 50,000 and to 
install rigid supervision of rail lines and 
personnel. SHAEF estimated that even 
with these difficulties, the enemy could 
carry on efforts against the Allied landings 
if he could maintain 100 trains per day. 
Since the capacity of German-controlled 
strategic lines was about 200 per day, the 
margin was still large. The Joint Intel- 
ligence Sub-Committee concluded cau- 
tiously, therefore, that the effort of the 
Resistance would be in the nature of a 
bonus which could not be determined with 
certainty and could not be taken into ac- 
count in operational planning. The 
SHAEF planners asked only for a measure 
of delay to enemy reinforcements, pointing 
out that, while this might seem too small a 
result for such a great expenditure of lives 
and effort, the delay would come at "the 
critical period of Overlord when every 
hour is vital." 49 

The French drew up a series of plans in 
London under the general direction of the 
Allied special operations agencies. These 
plans, approved by SHAEF in the spring 
of 1944, included a number of specific op- 
erations against strategic railroads and 
highways, the electrical distribution sys- 

47 JCS to Eisenhower, 17 Mar 44; Eisenhower to 
JCS, 1 May 44. Both in SHAEF G-3 Ops C 322-7 
Organization and Terms of Reference, 2d cover. 
Marshall to Eisenhower, W-30283, 30 Apr 44, 
SHAEF SGS 370.64 France, French Resistance 
Groups (Guerilla Warfare), I. 

48 JIC (44) 159, War Cabinet, Jt Intel Sub-Corn 
Rpt, 19 Apr 44, SHAEF SGS 3 70.64 France, French 
Resistance Groups (Guerilla Warfare), I. 

49 JIC (44), 159 (0), Jt Intel Sub-Corn Rpt, 19 Apr 
44; SHAEF G-3 Memo, 29 Apr 44, sub: Resistance 
by General Public in France, SHAEF SGS 370.64 
France, French Resistance Groups (Guerilla War- 
fare), I. 



RELATIONS WITH THE OCCUPIED COUNTRIES 



157 



tern, telephone and telegraph lines, muni- 
tions and gasoline dumps, and enemy 
headquarters. 

Some weeks before D Day, special oper- 
ations agencies instructed Resistance units 
to listen to British Broadcasting Corpora- 
tion announcements at the beginning and 
middle of each month in order to get an 
alert for the commencement of operations. 
As soon as they received the first message, 
they were to remain on the alert for a sec- 



ond message which would give the signal. 
SHAEF's Message A was broadcast by 
BBC on Uune and repeated the following 
day. On the night of 5June all B messages 
were sent. On the following morning, the 
Resistance forces began to send detailed 
information on current enemy movements 
and started a series of attacks to forestall 
enemy reinforcement of the assault area. 50 

511 The French Forces of the Interior, Ch. II, pp. 
387-88, OCMH. 



CHAPTER IX 



Final Preparations 
for the Invasion 



In the final weeks before D Day, Gen- 
eral Eisenhower spent much of his time 
visiting Allied units and observing maneu- 
vers and exercises. A firm believer that a 
commander should show himself to the 
troops, he, in common with General 
Montgomery and General Bradley, made 
numerous trips to military units. In spite 
of conferences, staff meetings, and the re- 
ception of prominent visitors, he found 
time in the period between 1 February 
and 1 June to visit twenty-six divisions, 
twenty-four airfields, five ships of war, and 
a number of depots, shops, hospitals, and 
other installations. 1 

He attempted to see as many men as 
possible, to examine their weapons and 
equipment, to speak informally to them 
about the value of their specific tasks and 
the importance of the larger mission of 
which they were a part. He was anxious 
not only to inspire the troops under his 
command to do their best, but to develop 
a feeling on the part of both the British 
and U.S. troops that they were brothers- 
in-arms. 

While these visits were in progress, the 
Allies were intensifying the air attacks on 
the invasion coast, strengthening the prop- 
aganda campaign against the enemy, and 
making plans for effective use of the 
French Resistance forces. The Supreme 



Commander himself was called on to 
recommend and take action on security 
measures, to discipline some of his com- 
manders because of their breaches of se- 
curity or issuance of unapproved state- 
ments, and to giv e the final order for the 
assault'. \( Chart 4\ 

Intensified Air Efforts Against the Enemy 

Air preparations for Overlord were 
intensified in April 1944 and continued 
with increased force until the assault. 
Aside from the Pointblank operations, 
which aided Overlord by attacks on the 
German economy and air force, Allied air 
activities consisted of a number of different 
campaigns designed especially to expose 
and soften up the enemy in the invasion 
area. One of these, photographic recon- 
naissance, begun more than a year before, 
furnished the assault commanders with 
photo coverage of the European coast from 
the Netherlands to the Spanish frontier. 
It was thus possible to plot coastal de- 
fenses, bridges, prospective airfields, air- 
borne drop zones, flooded areas, and 
enemy dumps and depots. From 1 April to 



' A list of visits has been included in Eisenhower, 
Crusade in Europe, p. 238. Butcher, My Three Years With 
Eisenhower, contains a number of references to Gen- 
eral Eisenhower's visits to troops in the period men- 
tioned. 



OS 

a. 
< 



< 

a 
z 
< 
s 
s 
o 
a 



z 
< 

a 

< 

2 

o 

< 
A 
W 
a. 

o 



05 
< 

O 




160 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 




AERIAL RECONNAISSANCE photograph of beach defenses. 



5 June 1944, the Allied Expeditionary Air 
Force flew more than 3,000 photographic 
reconnaissance sorties and the other air 
commands flew an additional 1,500. 2 

In March 1944 the Allied air forces 
started their bombing operations against 
enemy lines of communications in France 
and Belgium with attacks against railway 
marshaling yards and repair stations. In 
the last weeks of May they began bombing 
locomotives and bridges. Mid-April 1944 
had already seen the opening of a special 
campaign to neutralize coastal defenses, 
and early May the start of an offensive on 
enemy radar installations and wireless 
telegraph facilities, ammunition and fuel 
dumps, military camps and headquarters, 
and airfields. The attack on V-weapon 
launching sites, which had been inaugu- 
rated earlier in the year, was stepped up 



as the invasion period approached. Air 
forces were also busy protecting the Allied 
naval and ground forces against enemy 
bombers and reconnaissance planes dur- 
ing the assembly of the assault forces. Air 
Chief Marshal Leigh-Mallory estimated 
that in the six weeks before D Day the ene- 
my flew only 125 reconnaissance sorties in 
the Channel area and four over the 
Thames Estuary and the east coast. Very 
few of these approached land. Thus the 

2 The information for this section has been taken 
from Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, 
Despatch to the Supreme Commander, AEF, Novem- 
ber 1944, Supplement to The London Gazette, December 
31, 1946, pp. 42-54. Statistical information has been 
included to give some idea of the forces employed and 
the tonnages of bombs dropped. All statistics, as the 
dispatch notes, are subject to correction. See also 
Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War 
II: III, ARGUMENT to V-E Day, January 1944 to May 
1945 (Chicago, 1951), pp. 138-81. 



FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR THE INVASION 



161 



presence of the great concentrations of 
men and craft did not become known to 
the enemy. Those occasional bombers 
which ventured over the British Isles were 
usually dealt with effectively and were re- 
sponsible for only incidental damage. 

Propaganda Efforts Against the Enemy 

Long-range strategic propaganda cam- 
paigns were continued in 1944, being 
changed only to focus attention on the 
cross-Channel attack. The British Broad- 
casting Corporation, which had been ac- 
tive since 1939 in attacking German 
morale and encouraging the people of oc- 
cupied countries to resist, was joined 
before D Day by the Office of War Infor- 
mation short-wave transmitters operating 
under the name of the American Broad- 
casting Station in Europe (ABSIE). A 
leaflet campaign, carried on since 1939 
with the effective aid of the Royal Air 
Force and augmented after August 1943 
by the Eighth Air Force, was intensified 
in the three months before D Day. During 
the period between 1939 and D Day some 
two and three-quarter billion leaflets were 
distributed of which more than two billion 
were dropped by the Royal Air Force. 3 In 
addition, propaganda agencies supporting 
SHAEF operations produced and dropped 
a daily leaflet newspaper to the German 
troops. Beginning on 25 April 1944 and 
continuing until the end of the war, Allied 
planes dropped between a half million and 
a million copies of each edition of Nachrich- 
ten fuer die Truppe. This publication con- 
tained timely and accurate military infor- 
mation and news from the German home 
front designed to gain the German sol- 
dier's confidence in the truthfulness of the 
source and to keep him fully informed of 
the defeats suffered by the Germans and 
their allies. 4 



Besides carrying on pre-D-Day efforts 
to undermine German morale, the Allies 
appealed to peoples in occupied countries 
to resist the enemy and to prepare to sup- 
port the Allied cause actively when liber- 
ating forces landed on the Continent. Al- 
lied planes dropped weekly newspapers 
carrying news of interest and encourage- 
ment to occupied areas. Beginning with 
the British Courrier de I' Air for the French, 
and adding the American L'Amerique en 
Guerre, the propaganda agencies extended 
their activities to other occupied countries 
and to Germany. The work of disseminat- 
ing leaflets and newspapers, initially borne 
in large part by the Royal Air Force, was 
assumed more and more by the Eighth Air 
Force, which assigned a special squadron 
of B-17's for the purpose. 5 

On 20 May 1944 the British Broadcast- 
ing Corporation and the American Broad- 
casting Station in Europe began a series of 
"Voice of SHAEF" broadcasts beamed at 
France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Nor- 
way, and Denmark. Seven broadcasts 
made before D Day instructed the peoples 
of those occupied countries to gather infor- 
mation which the Allied forces would need 
on their arrival, but to refrain from pre- 
mature uprisings. 6 



3 Memo, SHAEF for Br COS, 14 Mar 44, SHAEF 
SGS 091.412 Propaganda, I. Psychological Warfare 
Division (SHAEF), An Account of Its Operations in the 
Western European Operation, 1944-45 (Bad Homburg, 
1945) pp. 17, 159. 

4 PWD (SHAEF), 'An Account of Its Operations, p. 46, 
says Nachrichten appeared in two editions which ran 
from 750,000 to a million copies each. The same 
volume speaks of "up to a half million copies daily — 
sometimes more . . ." (p. 163) and again "quantities 
per issue ranged as high as 1,700,000 copies" (Exhibit 
21). 

5 PWD (SHAEF), An Account of Its Operations, p. 
159. 

6 Texts of Voice of SHAEF broadcasts are in PWD 
(SHAEF), An Account of Its Operations, pp. 106-1 1. 



162 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Security fo r the Operation 

One of the important requirements for 
the commander of any great military of- 
fensive is the gaining of surprise. Because 
of the hazards involved in assaulting a 
heavily fortified coast, this element was 
vital to the success of Overlord. But the 
extensive movements and concentrations 
of men, supplies, and ships made the task 
of preserving the necessary secrecy espe- 
cially difficult. The most rigid precautions 
became necessary. COSSAC in August 
1943 established the Overlord Security 
Sub-Committee of the Inter-Services Se- 
curity Board to draft special regulations 
for guarding secrets of the cross-Channel 
operation. At the recommendation of the 
subcommittee, COSSAC in September 
1943 adopted a special procedure, known 
as Bigot, by which all papers relating to 
the Overlord operations which disclosed 
the target area or the precise dates of the 
assault were limited in circulation to a 
small group of officers and men and sub- 
jected to stringent safeguards. The code 
word Neptune was applied to these papers 
to distinguish them from Overlord docu- 
ments that did not have to be handled 
with the same extreme degree of caution. 7 

The most crucial period for secrecy was 
that from mid-March until after D Day 
when the heaviest concentrations of troops 
and landing craft in the coastal areas were 
being made. To deal with the problem, 
SHAEF asked for regulations during the 
critical weeks of preparation which would 
bar the entry of civiliansinto coastal areas, 
stop members of the armed forces from 
taking leave outside the United Kingdom, 
and forbid foreign diplomats from sending 
messages in code from the United King- 
dom. A special committee headed by Sir 
Findlater Stewart and consisting of repre- 



sentatives of the British service ministries, 
COSSAC (SHAEF), the Home Office, the 
Ministry of Home Security, and the Min- 
istry of Health undertook to formulate 
such regulations. 8 

The civil ministries promptly objected 
to some of the proposals. General Morgan 
protested strongly against their stand and 
stressed the grave military need for secu- 
rity inasmuch as even a forty-eight-hour 
warning to the Germans of Allied disposi- 
tions or intentions would seriously dimin- 
ish the chances of a successful landing. 
Intimating that the civil ministries were 
holding back in fear of offending the civil- 
ian population, he warned, "If we fail, 
there won't be any more politics — andcer- 
tainly no more Lend-Lease!" In view of 
the Prime Minister's and War Office's op- 
position to outright bans on visits of civil- 
ians to restricted coastal areas, which Mr. 
Churchill thought could be handled more 
effectively by a ban on all communications 
from the United Kingdom in the final 
critical weeks, no action was taken in the 
first two months of 1944. 9 

While broad security policy was being 
considered by the ministries, General 
Eisenhower ordered all units under his 
command to maintain the highest stand- 
ard of individual security discipline and to 
mete out severe disciplinary action in case 
of violation of security. He required that 
the greatest care be used, except in case of 

'Memo, Maj Gen P. G. Whitefoord, 14 Aug 43; 
Security Instruction ^Communications, 17 Sep 43. 
Both in SHAEF SGS 380.01/4 Security for Opns. 

"Memo with appendices by Gen Whitefoord, 9 Sep 
43; Barker to VCIGS, 18 Oct 43; COS (44) 7th mtg, 
10 Jan 44; COS (44) 10th mtg, 13 Jan 44; Memo, 
Smith for Br COS, 20Jan 44. All in SHAEF SGS 
380.01/4 Security for Opns. 

9 COS (44) 7th mtg, 10 Jan 44; Memo by Gilmer 
for Smith concerning Morgan's ltr, 4 Feb 44; Morgan 
to G-2 and G-3, 9 Feb 44. All in SHAEF SGS 
380.01/4 Security for Opns. 



FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR THE INVASION 



163 



operational necessity, to guard persons 
familiar withthe chief details of impend- 
ing operations from unnecessary exposure 
to capture by the enemy as a result of par- 
ticipation in preliminary landing opera- 
tions, reconnaissance, or flights over the 
battle area. 10 

General Montgomery in early March 
urged the Supreme Commander to request 
a ban, on visits by civilians to restricted 
areas. General Eisenhower now insisted 
that the War Cabinet impose the ban. He 
warned that it "would go hard with our 
consciences if we were to feel, in later 
years, that by neglecting any security pre- 
caution we had compromised the success 
of these vital operations or needlessly 
squandered men's lives." Four days later 
the War Cabinet declared that from April 
a visitor's ban would be imposed "through- 
out the coastal region from the Wash to 
Cornwall, with the addition of an area in 
Scotland adjacent to the Firth of Forth." 11 

Despite the ban on visits to coastal areas, 
censorship of outgoing mail and news dis- 
patched from the United Kingdom, and 
restrictions on travel, there were still pos- 
sible sources of leaks. The most feared of 
these were diplomatic communications not 
subject to censorship. The Foreign Office 
and War Cabinet were understandably re- 
luctant to apply so drastic a measure as 
censorship to the correspondence of Allied 
representatives. But General Eisenhower, 
regarding this source of leakage as "the 
gravest risk to the security of our opera- 
tions and to lives of our sailors, soldiers, 
and airmen," on 9 April asked that such a 
ban be put into effect as soon as possible 
after mid-April. On 17 April, the War 
Cabinet ruled that from that date foreign 
diplomatic representatives would not be 
permitted to receive or send uncensored 
communications and that couriers of such 



staffs would not be allowed to leave the 
United Kingdom. The restrictions were 
applied to all foreign countries save the 
United States and the USSR. Strong pro- 
tests were immediately forthcoming, par- 
ticularly in the case of the French Com- 
mittee of National Liberation which 
ordered General Koenig to break off nego- 
tiations with SHAEF. A modification of 
the ban was later made in favor of the 
French, but the basic rule stood until after 
D Day. 12 

Despite many precautions, leaks in secu- 
rity occurred. A scare developed in late 
March when secret documents dealing 
with phases of the Overlord operation 
were discovered in the Chicago post office. 
Improperly wrapped, the envelope con- 
taining them had come open and its con- 
tents noted casually by a dozen postal 
employees. A flurry ensued in Washington 
and London until it was found that a ser- 
geant in Headquarters, ETOUSA, had 
addressed the envelope to his sister in 
Chicago through an error. Investigation 
showed that carelessness and not espionage 
was involved. 13 Far more serious and spec- 
tacular was the case of the commander of 
the IX Air Force Service Command in the 
United Kingdom. The general, in the 
presence of a number of guests in a public 
dining room at Claridge's Hotel on 18 
April, declared that the invasion would 
begin before 15 June 1944. When details 

" Eisenhower to 21 A Gp, FUSAG, AEAF, and 
ANCXF, 23 Feb 44; Morgan to ANCXF and AEAF, 
28 Feb 44. Both in SHAEF SGS 380.01/4 Security 
for Opns. 

11 Montgomery to Eisenhower, 3 Mar 44; Eisen- 
hower to Br COS, 6 Mar 44; Hollis to Eisenhower, 
1 1 Mar 44. All in SHAEF SGS 380.01/4 Security 
for Opns. 

12 Eisenhower to Brooke, 9 Apr 44; Brooke to 
Eisenhower, 17 Aug 44. Both in SHAEF SGS 31 1.7/1 
Stoppage of Diplomatic Communication. 

" Diary Office CinC, 23 Mar and 4Apr 44. 



164 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



of the incident were confirmed, General 
Eisenhower, a West Point classmate of the 
officer, ordered him removed from his 
post, reduced to his permanent rank of 
colonel, and sent back to the United 
States. 14 

After the war, German files in Berlin re- 
vealed that the enemy by the opening 
weeks of 1944 had discovered the meaning 
of Overlord and was certain that the 
main attack for 1944 would be in western 
Europe and not the eastern Mediterra- 
nean. This information, which reached the 
Germans from sources in the British Em- 
bassy, Ankara, initially identified the 
main attack as Overlook. Later reports, 
rated by the Germans as accurate since 
their disclosure was contrary to English in- 
terest, were regarded as "conclusive evidence 
that the Anglo-Saxons are determined toforce a 
show-down by opening the second front in 1944. 
However, this second front will not be in the Bal- 
kans." The analysis of 8 February 1944 by 
the Chief of the Western Branch of the In- 
telligence Division of the German Army 
(OKH/FremdeHeere West)stated: 

1. For 1944 an operation is planned outside 
the Mediterranean that will seek to force a deci- 
sion and, therefore, will be carried out with 
all available forces. This operation is prob- 
ably being prepared under the code name of 
Overlord. The intention of committing 
large forces becomes clear from the fact that 
the operation is expected to produce the final 
military decision within a comparatively 
short period of time. . . . On 18 Jan 44, there- 
fore, the Anglo-Saxon command was committed to a 
large-scale operation which would seek a final deci- 
sion (second front). 

The documents lack any indication of the 
exact area of this major attack. However, the 
distribution of enemy forces and troop move- 
ments clearly point to England as a point of 
departure. 

Two weeks later, an intelligence report 
added: 



The frequently expressed determination to 
bring the war to an end in 1944 is to be consid- 
ered the keynote 6the enemy's operational plan-, 
ning. It is also repeatedly mentioned as a 
definite fact that the decision will be sought 
by a large-scale attack in western Europe. In this 
connection Turkey' sentry into the war is con- 
sidered of value only within a limited period 
of time. From the foregoing facts it must be 
concluded that a showdown is to be attempted 
during the first — or at latest during the sec- 
ond — third of 1944. The early start of opera- 
tions in Italy (fighting at Cassino and Anzio) 
which must be considered only with the 
framework of the over-all operational plan- 
ning of the enemy (holding attack) points in 
the same direction. 15 

The possibility that the name of the op- 
eration would leak out had always been 
considered by the Overlord planners. 
They would have been relieved to know 
that their most carefully guarded secret — 
the exact area of the main blow and the 
approximate date — were not included in 
the German intelligence estimatest Later, 
they would have reflected that by the end 
of May everything which appeared in the 
January and February estimates, except 
the code name Overlord, could have 
been easily surmised from the accounts in 
the Allied press. 

The Patton Episode 

Scarcely had General Eisenhower pun- 
ished the Air Force general for a breach of 
security when he was faced with the pros- 
pect of removing an Army commander, Lt. 
Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., from command 

14 Diary Office CinC, 12 May 44; New YorkTimes, 
June 7, 10, 1944; Eisenhower to Marshall, 3 May 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 

15 German Foreign Office political report IM51 
gRs, 8 Jan- 44 (copy dtd 12 Jan 44), Intelligence 
analysis, Militaerische Auswertung der Sonderunterlagen 
WFSt ueber Tuerkei aus dem Zeitabschnitt Sept. 43-Jan. 
44, 8 and 21 Feb 44,Oberkommando des Heeres/Fremde 
Heere West Hundakte Chef. [Italics in original.] 



FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR THE INVASION 



165 



of the Third U.S. Army. In an effort to 
avoid any incident in the United Kingdom 
which might reawaken the public's mem- 
ory of the Sicilian episode in which Gen- 
eral Patton had slapped a patient in an 
Army hospital, General Eisenhower had 
warned the Third Army commander 
shortly after his arrival not to make public 
speeches without permission, and to guard 
all his statements so that there would be no 
chance of misinterpretation. Shortly after- 
ward, as the result of a flurry over a speech 
he had made before a U.S. group in Eng- 
land, General Patton promised to refrain 
from public utterances. Near the end of 
April, however, in speaking before what 
he believed to be a private gathering, the 
Third Army commander declared that the 
United States and Great Britain would 
run the world of the future. This apparent 
affront to other Allied powers led to angry 
outcries in the U.S. Congress and press. 
General Marshall, who was trying to win 
Congressional approval for an Army per- 
manent promotion list including General 
Patton's name, was dismayed by the inci- 
dent which brought into question the 
Third Army commander's fitness for com- 
mand and threatened to kill all Army 
promotions. 16 

General Eisenhower asked General 
Marshall if retention of General Patton 
would diminish the confidence of the pub- 
lic and the government in the War De- 
partment, indicating that in such a case 
stern disciplinary action would be re- 
quired. He then sent a blistering letter to 
General Patton asking for a complete 
explanation and warning him of the 
"serious potentialities" of his speech. Re- 
flecting on the fact that the Third Army 
commander seemed incapable of holding 
his tongue, General Eisenhower informed 
General Marshall that "on all the evi- 



dence now available I will relieve him 
from command and send him home unless 
some new and unforeseen information 
should be developed in the case." He was 
reluctant to take this action in view of 
General Patton's proved ability to conduct 
"a ruthless drive," and added that there 
was always the possibility that the war 
might yet develop a situation where Pat- 
ton, despite his lack of balance, "should be 
rushed into the breach." 17 

Before receiving the second message sug- 
gesting relief of the Third Army com- 
mander, General Marshall assured Gen- 
eral Eisenhower that confidence of the 
public in the War Department had to be 
measured against the success of the Over- 
lord operation. He declared: "If you feel 
that the operation can be carried on with 
the same assurance of success with [Lt. 
Gen. Courtney H.] Hodges in command, 
for example, instead of Patton, all well and 
good. If you doubt it, then between us we 
can bear the burden of the already unfor- 
tunate reaction. I fear the harm has already 
been fatal to the confirmation of the per- 
manent list." On 1 May General Marshall 
gave General Eisenhower exclusive respon- 
sibility for deciding whether or not to keep 
Patton in command. He insisted that the 
position of the War Department was not to 
be considered in the decision, but "only 
Overlord and your own heavy responsi- 
bility for its success." 18 

The Supreme Commander, aware "that 
the relief of Patton would lose to us his ex- 

16 Marshall to Eisenhower (apparently 26 Apr 44), 
Diary Office CinC, 1 1 Dec 44. 

17 Smith to Marshall, 27 Apr 44; Eisenhower to 
Marshall, 29 Apr 44; Eisenhower to Patton, 29 Apr 
44; Eisenhower to Marshall, 30 Apr 44. These mes- 
sages in Diary Office CinC and Eisenhower personal 
file. 

18 Marshall to Eisenhower, 29 Apr 44; McNarney 
for Marshall to Eisenhower, 1 May 44. Both in Eisen- 
hower personal file. 



166 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



perience as commander of an Army in bat- 
tle and his demonstrated ability of getting 
the utmost out of soldiers in offensive op- 
erations," decided on the basis of the ef- 
fects upon Overlord to retain his subor- 
dinate in command. He informed the 
Third Army commander that he was be- 
ing kept despite damaging repercussions 
resulting from his personal indiscretions. 
"I do this," he added, "solely because of 
my faith in you as a battle leader and for 
no other motives." The decision was ap- 
plauded in Washington by Secretary 
Stimson who praised General Eisenhower's 
judicial poise and good judgment "as well 
as the great courage which you have 
shown in making this decision." 19 

Exercises and Maneuvers 

The numerous exercises held before the 
invasion gave the Supreme Commander 
an excellent opportunity to see his troops 
in action and to find errors which would 
need elimination before D Day. Begin- 
ning in late December 1943, a series of ex- 
ercises was held at brigade, divisional, and 
corps level. Final rehearsals were held in 
late April and early May in the south of 
England. Activities included the concen- 
tration, marshaling, and embarkation of 
troops, a short movement by water, disem- 
barkation with naval and air support, a 
beach assault using service ammunition, 
the securing of a beachhead, and a rapid 
advance inland. The rehearsals were 
planned to resemble the Overlord opera- 
tion, except for differences in the sequences 
of landings and timing made to deceive 
the enemy if he was observing the maneu- 
vers. The Allies were perturbed when, 
during one of the last exercises, a German 
E-boat attacked seven LST's, sinking two 
of the craft with more than 700 casualties. 



The enemy concluded that the craft were 
engaged in exercises, but seemed to draw 
no conclusions from them relative to the 
cross-Channel operation. 

The rehearsals were followed by the 
final and major briefing of the key com- 
manders. This conference was held under 
the supervision of SHAEF on 15 May in 
St. Paul's School, General Montgomery's 
headquarters in London, in the presence 
of the King, the Prime Minister, Field 
Marshal Smuts, the British 'Chiefs of Staff, 
members of the War Cabinet, and the chief 
Allied commanders — one of the great mili- 
tary gatherings of the war. General Eisen- 
hower opened the meeting and was fol- 
lowed by General Montgomery, Admiral 
Ramsay, Air Chief Marshal Leigh-Mal- 
lory, and General Bradley who gave broad 
outlines of the revised plans for Overlord 
as well as a statement of the support the 
various commanders were to receive in 
their operations. The King and the Prime 
Minister also made short speeches. Of this 
dramatic meeting, General Eisenhower 
later wrote that it "not only marked the 
virtual completion of all preliminary plan- 
ning and preparation but seemed to im- 
part additional confidence as each of the 
scores of commanders and staff officers 
present learned in detail the extent of the 
assistance he would receive for his own 
particular part of the vast undertaking." 20 

The Decision To Go 

With final preparations under way, the 
Supreme Commander considered the all- 
important question of the date for Over- 

ln Eisenhower to Marshall, 3 May 44; Eisenhower 
to Patton, 3 May 44. Both in Eisenhower personal 
file. Stimson to Eisenhower, 5 May 44, Diary Office 
CinC. 

-° Butcher, My Three Tears With Eisenhower, pp. 539- 
40; Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, p. 245. 



FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR THE INVASION 



167 



lord. In the discussions at Tehran, 1 May 
1944 had been provisionally accepted. 
When it became necessary to enlarge the 
assault area and seek more landing craft, 
the date was changed to the end of May. 
Ultimately the target date — Y Day — the 
date on which all preparations had to be 
complete, was set for 1 June. It was under- 
stood that D Day, the day of attack, would 
come as soon thereafter as the tides, phases 
of the moon, hours of daylight, and 
weather would permit. A study of these 
factors revealed that only three days in 
early June — 5, 6, and 7 — filled all require- 
ments of the invasion force. On 8 May, the 
Supreme Commander after a discussion 
with his commanders selected the date of 
Y plus 4 (5 June). General Eisenhower in- 
formed the Combined Chiefs of Staff of 
this decision on 17 May, saying that 6 and 
7 June were acceptable in case bad weather 
interfered but that any further postpone- 
ment required major changes in the opera- 
tion or a delay until 19 June when tidal 
conditions would again be favorable. He 
asked them to notify the Russians, who 
had promised to start their attack shortly 
after the cross-Channel assault, of the 
change in date. 21 

On the assumption that the attack 
would be made on 5 June, the Supreme 
Commander gave orders in mid-May for 
the concentration of the assault force near 
the invasion port areas of southern Eng- 
land. The enormous heaps of munitions, 
supplies, and equipment which had been 
stored throughout the United Kingdom 
were now moved by unending convoys to 
the south. As warehouses overflowed, the 
materiel was placed in carefully camou- 
flaged positions along the roadways pre- 
paratory to final loading. Thousands of 
men next moved into tented areas in the 
fields of Cornwall, Devon, Sussex, and the 



other southern counties, whence they 
could be taken to landing craft waiting in 
near-by coves and inlets and then trans- 
ported to the great concentrations of ships 
at Portland, Plymouth, Portsmouth, 
Southampton, and the Isle of Wight. 

Meanwhile, special efforts were made to 
get the men keyed to the proper psycho- 
logical pitch for the attack. General Eisen- 
hower urged his commanders to overcome 
any lack of a will to fight on the part of 
their troops by explaining the critical im- 
portance of defeating the Germans. Arti- 
cles in Army publications stressed the 
vicious policies and beliefs of the enemy 
and the necessity of dealing ruthlessly with 
him. To combat the fears of those who an- 
ticipated heavy losses in the invasion and 
dreaded the shock and pain of battle, the 
Supreme Commander urged troop leaders 
to discuss candidly with their men the D- 
Day prospects. Service newspapers, like 
Stars and Stripes, ran special articles which 
described the miracles of modern combat 
medicine and gave optimistic predictions 
on the chance of survival. 

The best psychological preparations for 
the cross-Channel landings lay, however, 
in the personal briefings which unit com- 
manders gave their men. Gathered to- 
gether in units as small as platoons and 
squads, the men carefully studied their 
particular assignment for D Day. Foam- 
rubber models of the beaches, detailed 
maps and charts of the landing area, pho- 
tographs of fortifications and obstacles 
were analyzed for enemy strength and 
weakness. An attempt was made to orient 
each man, showing him his place in rela- 

21 Diary, Office CinC, 9 May 44; Eisenhower to 
CCS, SCAF 30, 17 May 44. Maj. Gen. John Russell 
Deane, in The Strange Alliance: The. Story of Our Efforts 
at Wartime Co-OperationWith Russia (New York, 1947), 
p. 150, tells of various changes in date which he gave 
the Russians in Moscow. 



168 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



tion to other men in his platoon and the 
units on his flanks. He became familiar 
with the landmarks which were supposed 
to greet him when he got ashore, the exits 
by which he could leave the beach, and 
the likely locations of minefields and ma- 
chine gun nests. More important to his 
peace of mind was the assurance of power- 
ful naval and air support which was sup- 
posed to neutralize enemy opposition. At 
last, after the marshaling areas were care- 
fully sealed off from the rest of England by 
wire and armed guards, the men were 
given the exact place of landing, the target 
date of the attack, and the broad outline of 
what the Allies expected to do once they 
got ashore. Before the end of May, it was 
clear that this concentration was not 
merely another exercise. 

With the final briefings went the water- 
proofing of vehicles, the checking of wea- 
pons, adjustments of personal gear, and 
last-minute inspections. Invasion money 
was issued, family allotments made, and 
precautions given on the proper behavior 
of soldiers in liberated countries. Spurred 
by a last-minute warning that the enemy 
might use gas to stop the invasion, the Al- 
lied commanders reiterated their standing 
instructions concerning the means of de- 
tecting and combating such attacks. Nor 
were the perils of the sea forgotten as sea- 
sick pills and vomit bags were handed out, 
and lifebelts issued and tested. Now that 
the men knew where they were going, 
French phrase books were distributed and 
enterprising linguists held occasional 
classes for soldiers who looked forward to 
social interludes on the Continent. At 
length, cigarettes, toothbrushes, extra 
socks, K and D rations, and rounds of am- 
munition were passed out to each soldier. 
Little remained then but to get a crew cut, 
write a last letter home, and make a final 



inspection of equipment. By 1 June, as the 
units farthest from the invasion area began 
their move, few details had been over- 
looked. The first days of June brought an 
almost unbearable tension as the men, 
aware that their return home depended on 
the speed and effectiveness with which 
they completed their task, waited im- 
patiently for the word to go. 

But that word depended on one factor 
that could not be arranged by the plan- 
ners — the weather. In the last days of 
May, the Supreme Commander began to 
watch the weather forecasts very closely. 
He got in the habit of talking over the re- 
ports with the Chief Meteorological Offi- 
cer, SHAEF, Group CaptainJ. M. Stagg, 
so that he understood fully the value of the 
reports and the basis on which they were 
made. On 1 June, General Eisenhower ar- 
ranged for the Allied commanders to meet 
him daily to consider the final decision for 
the attack. He realized that it was unlikely 
that so great an operation could be started 
and then stopped again without complete 
loss of secrecy. Loadings of ships had be- 
gun by 1 June, and it was clear that put- 
ting back to harbor and unloading ships 
would give rise to mishaps. Worse still, a 
delay meant an additional chance for the 
enemy's pilotless aircraft to begin their op- 
erations, or the possibility that the next 
favorable period for tides in mid-June 
would have even less satisfactory weather 
than that which would prevail on 5 June. 
Even more important was the effect of 
postponement on morale. The men who 
composed the assault forces had been 
brought to a pitch of readiness which 
would be hard to reach again. All these 
factors had to be weighed by the Supreme 
Commander as he studied the reports of 
the weatherman and debated whether or 
not to give the signal for the attack. 



FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR THE INVASION 



169 



Weather information was furnished the 
Supreme Commander by a Meteorologi- 
cal Committee presided over by the Chief 
Meteorological Officer, SHAEF, and in- 
cluding meteorological officers from the 
Allied Expeditionary Air Force, the Allied 
Naval Expeditionary Force, the Admi- 
ralty, U.S. Weather Services (U.S. Army 
Air Forces in Europe), and the Air Minis- 
try. In most cases, the officers submitted 
their opinions by telephone to the chair- 
man, their reports were opened to general 
discussion, and a final forecast was drawn 
up which was in turn presented for the ap- 
proval or disapproval of the various 
weather officers. 22 

Forecasts which were somewhat opti- 
mistic on 29 May were less hopeful by 2 
June, but since there was some lack of cer- 
tainty the Supreme Commander decided 
to order part of the assault forces to sail 
toward rendezvous points the following 
morning. The weather experts on 3 June 
again reported unpromising weather 
which would probably rule out 5 June as 
D Day, but General Eisenhower con- 
firmed orders for one of the U.S. task 
forces to sail subject to a possible last-min- 
ute change. In the early morning of 4 
June, the meteorological officers revealed 
that conditions on the following day would 
not permit the air forces to carry out their 
part of the assault program. Neither the 
air nor the naval commanders felt they 
should start the attack under the circum- 
stances, although General Montgomery 
indicated his forces were ready to go. Gen- 
eral Eisenhower, recalling that the opera- 
tion had been accepted as feasible only if 
Allied air superiority could be brought to 
bear, ordered a twenty-four-hour post- 
ponement and called for a meeting at 2 1 30 
that evening to decide whether the attack 
could begin on 6 June. Convoys already at 



sea were ordered to turn back. 

The decisive meeting was held, as the 
others had been, near Portsmouth in the 
Allied Naval Expeditionary Force mess 
room at Southwick House, Admiral Ram- 
say's headquarters. The meeting place was 
a large room, lined on three sides by book- 
cases which were mostly empty, and con- 
taining a table and a number of easy 
chairs. Present in addition to General 
Eisenhower were Tedder, Leigh- Mallory, 
Robb, Wigglesworth, Smith, Montgom- 
ery, Strong, Bull, de Guingand, Gale, 
Ramsay, and Creasy. Once the group was 
seated informally in the easy chairs, the 
weatherman, Group Captain Stagg, ac- 
companied as usual by Instructor Com- 
mander John Fleming of the Royal Navy 
and Lt. Col. Donald D. Yates of the U.S. 
Army Air Forces, presented the agreed-on 
forecast. A new weather front had recently 
been observed which gave some hope of 
improvement throughout 5 June and until 
the morning of Tuesday the 6th. The skies 
were expected to clear sufficiently for 
heavy bombers to operate during the night 
of the 5th and at H Hour the following 
morning, although it was possible that 
later changes might interfere with fighter- 
bombers and with spotting for naval bom- 
bardment. Some hope was thus given, but 
there was a chance that the reports were 
wrong and the fleet would be forced to 
turn back. Any possibility of postponing 
the decision for several hours until a new 
forecast could be made was dashed, how- 
ever, by Admiral Ramsay's declaration 
that "Admiral Kirk must be told within 

22 Report by Allied Naval CinC Expeditionary 
Force on Operation Neptune, App. 16, I, 156-65. 
(This appendix contains detailed forecasts during the 
period in question, showing the opinions of the vari- 
ous meteorological officers.) Memo, SHAEF, 26 May 
44, sub: Weather Forecasts, SHAEF G-3 Ops A 
000.9 1 Meteorological Matters. 



170 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



the next half hour if Overlord is to take 
place on Tuesday. If he is told it is on and 
his forces sail and are then recalled, they 
will not be ready again for Wednesday 
morning; therefore a further postponement 
would be for 48 hours." General Eisen- 
hower polled his advisers. Air Chief Mar- 
shal Leigh- Mallory was pessimistic and 
believed that the operation would be 
"chancey," a conclusion in which Air 
Chief Marshal Tedder concurred. General 
Montgomery, reiterating his advice of the 
previous day, voted "Go!" The question 
was now up to the Supreme Commander. 
He could take the gamble and launch the 
attack with the possibility he would lack 
air support, or he could turn back the task 
forces and await the fortunes of a later 
date. The fatefulness of his decision 
strongly impressed the assembled com- 
manders, several of whom wrote accounts 
of the moment. General Smith was struck 
by "the loneliness and isolation of a com- 
mander at a time when such a momentous 
decision was to be taken by him, with full 
knowledge that failure or success rests on 
his individual decision." The Supreme 
Commander calmly weighed the alterna- 
tives, pointing out that it was the danger 
of not going which was "too chancey." The 
question, as he saw it, was "just how long 
can you hang this operation at the end of 
a limb and let it hang there." To this ques- 
tion there could be only one answer: 
"Go." 23 

The orders went out to the fleet that the 
attack was on, but a final meeting of the 
Supreme Commander and his aides was 



set for the early morning of 5 June. At 0330 
as the Allied commanders started for their 
meeting place, they found little in the 
weather to make them hopeful. The rain 
and wind and mud that greeted them as 
they made their way to the naval head- 
quarters gave no promise of fair weather 
for the 6th. However, the experts, who had 
made a final forecast at 0200, offered some 
hope that the 6th might see a break in the 
weather which might last thirty-six hours. 
They were unwilling to predict what might 
happen after that time. On the basis of this 
advice, General Eisenhower held to his de- 
cision of the previous evening. Using the 
code which he had already sent the War 
Department, he notified the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff: "Halcyon plus 5 finally and 
definitely confirmed." 24 

23 Accounts of the two final meetings have been 
written by Air Vice Marshal James M. Robb (a 
signed carbon copy of his original report, written on 
the morning of 5 June 1 944, was given by him to the 
author); Gen Bull, Memo for Record, 5 June 44, 
SHAEF G-3 file; Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, "Eisen- 
hower's Six Great Decisions," Saturday Evening Post, 
June 8, 1946, p. 218; Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, 
pp. 249-50; de Guingand, Operation Victory, pp. 372- 
74; and Leigh- Mallory Despatch, Supplement to The 
London Gazette, December 31, 1946, p. 55. The author 
has also received statements by Eisenhower, Tedder, 
Creasy, and Strong. There are some differences as to 
the exact phrasing of General Eisenhower's final state- 
ments in making the decision and for that reason the 
accounts of Robb and Bull have been omitted. Both 
General Bull and Air Marshal Robb have given lists 
of the persons present, although General Bull omits 
General Gale from the list. Both accounts indicate 
that Air Marshal Coningham was present at the 
earlier meetings. 

24 Diary Office CinC, 5 Jan 44, contains details on 
the decision apparently given Butcher by General 
Eisenhower shortly after the decision was made. 



CHAPTER X 



D Day to the Breakout 



Unfolding of the Grand Design 

The long months of planning by 
SHAEF, its predecessors, and the subordi- 
nate commands culminated on 6 June in 
the great assault. Shortly before midnight, 
5 June, elements of a British and two U.S. 
airborne divisions took to the air from var- 
ious fields in southern England and headed 
for the Cotentin peninsula and for points 
east of the Orne River. |(Ma/> 7)| Already 
mine sweepers of the Eastern and Western 
Task Forces were clearing ship lanes to the 
selected beaches — Utah and Omaha for 
the U.S. forces, and Gold, Juno, and 
Sword for the British. On their way to a 
rendezvous point south of the Isle of Wight 
were five naval forces; two additional fol- 
low-up forces were loaded and at sea. 
Aboard the craft of Admiral Ramsay's task 
force of more than 5,000 vessels were ele- 
ments of three U.S., two British, and one 
Canadian divisions. Overhead the bomb- 
ers and fighters were starting a day's offen- 
sive which was to see nearly 1 1 ,000 sorties 
and the dropping of nearly 12,000 tons of 
bombs. Meanwhile, the Supreme Com- 
mander and General Montgomery waited 
in their advance headquarters at Ports- 
mouth for the first news of the landings. 
General Eisenhower, having stayed with 
elements of the 101st Airborne Division at 
their camp near Newbury until near mid- 
night, returned to his camp to await news 
of the landings. For the moment, control 



of the battle had passed from his hands. 

Like most battles, that on D Day did 
not go exactly as planned. But in its main 
objective of getting ashore against a deter- 
mined enemy it was completely successful 
and at a cost lower than anyone, had 
hoped. The naval and air forces had pre- 
pared the way for the seaborne landings. 
In the Cotentin, the two U.S. airborne di- 
visions, despite scattered drops, cleared 
enough of their objectives and diverted the 
enemy sufficiently to allow seaborne ele- 
ments of the VII Corps virtually to walk 
ashore. All other assault troops had a hard 
fight on the beaches and beyond. In the 
center of the attack, the V Corps met a 
strong, determined German division, the 
352d, which had been placed in line as 
early as March but had not been definitely 
located there by Allied intelligence. 1 Suf- 
fering heavy casualties and splintered by 
obstinate German opposition in a series of 
resistance nests, the V Corps with the 
effective aid of naval fire struggled inland 
to gain by the end of the day a precarious 
toehold not more than a mile deep. 2 On 



1 Brigadier E. T. Williams, former chief of intelli- 
gence of 2 1 Army Group, says (letter to author, 1 Au- 
gust 1951) that there was some conjecture as to the 
probability of its being there, but no definite proof. 

2 V Corps lost some 2,000 dead, wounded, and 
missing, as opposed to VII Corps' 200. The 82d and 
101st Airborne Divisions lost approximately 2,500. 
Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, pp. 284, 300, 331; 
[Roland G. Ruppenthal] Utah Beach to Cherbourg, 
AMERICAN FORCES IN ACTION (Washington, 
1947), p. 55. 



D DAY TO THE BREAKOUT 



173 



the left, British airborne units had success- 
fully secured their target areas east of the 
Orne. Infantry of the 1 and 30 British 
Corps, meeting uneven resistance, had en- 
gaged in costly fighting but were able to 
smash through in the direction of Bayeux. 
Neither Bayeux nor Caen, listed as possible 
D-Day objectives, was seized. 3 

Despite all the difficulties, the troops 
had got ashore, mostly in good condition. 
Only fragmentary reports of the landing 
drifted back to SHAEF advance head- 
quarters at Portsmouth, where the Su- 
preme Commander fretted for lack of 
news. Indications that both airborne and 
infantry losses along the fifty-mile front 
were lighter than expected were encourag- 
ing, but this bright aspect did not make up 
for the fact that the forces in the center had 
gone only 1,500 to 2,000 yards inland and 
were in no position to meet the enemy 
armored counterattack which the Over- 
lord planners anticipated by D plus 3. 
The marshy land at the eastern neck of the 
Cherbourg peninsula and hard-fighting 
enemy elements still lay between the Allied 
center and right. 

In view of the difficulties in the Allied 
center, Eisenhower became particularly 
concerned with speeding up the junction 
of the two U.S. beachheads. On 7 June, 
accompanied by Admiral Ramsay and 
members of the SHAEF staff, he viewed 
the invasion front from the mine layer 
Apollo and conferred on board at various 
times during the day with Generals Mont- 
gomery and Bradley, and Rear Admirals 
Alan G. Kirk, John L. Hall, and Sir Philip 
L. Vian. A decision was made in the 
course of the day to give special attention at 
once to closing the Carentan-Isigny gap 
between VII and V Corps. Eisenhower 
ordered the tactical plan changed to give 



priority to that task, 4 and the entire 101st 
Airborne Division was directed against 
Carentan while the V Corps continued its 
planned expansion east, west, and south. 

Carentan fell on 12 June and the corps 
link-up was solidified during the next two 
days. The VII Corps at the same time 
pushed north to Quineville and across the 
Merderet River. On the central front con- 
centric drives by U.S. and British forces by 
8 June had closed the initial gap at the 
Drome River between the V and 30 British 
Corps. The V Corps then pushed through 
the bocage country to within a few miles of 
St. L6 before grinding to a halt in the face 
of stiffening enemy defense and increasing 
terrain obstacles. The 1 British Corps in 
the meantime was struggling slowly to- 
ward Caen. The Germans, considering 
Caen the gateway to Paris, massed their 
reserves to defend it and stopped the Brit- 
ish short of the city. By the end of the first 
week of the invasion, Eisenhower's forces 
had consolidated a bridgehead eight to 
twelve miles deep extending in a rough arc 
from points just east of the Orne on the 
east to Quineville in the north. 

Behind the front, supply groups labored 
to build up a backlog of fuel, food, and 
ammunition which would make possible 
the next phase of the attack to break out of 
the beachheads. Considered of paramount 
importance in this program was the cre- 
ation of breakwaters and floating piers 
known as Mulberry A and Mulberry B, 
which were to be built at Omaha Beach 



3 Detailed accounts of the D-Day story are given in 
Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack , Ch. VIII; Ruppenthal, 
Utah Beach to Cherbourg; [Charles H. Taylor] Omaha 
Beachhead, AMERICAN FORCES IN ACTION 
(Washington, 1945); Montgomery, Normandy to the 
Baltic, Ch. VIII; Stacey, The Canadian Army, Ch. XI. 

4 Eisenhower to Marshall, SCAF 48, 8 Jun 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 



D DAY TO THE BREAKOUT 



175 



and Arromanches-les-Bains. The task of 
putting these harbors into operation was 
fraught with great difficulties: craft and 
materiel had to be towed across the Chan- 
nel, the ships that were to act as break- 
waters had to be sunk so as to provide 
maximum protection for shipping, and the 
piers had to be anchored so as to withstand 
wind and tides. The British proved to be 
more successful with their breakwater at 
Arromanches than did the U.S. forces on 
Omaha Beach. Although the British 
moved more slowly, they had their harbor 
more securely placed when a heavy gale 
struck the Channel in the period of 19-22 
June and destroyed much of the U.S. 
Mulberry. Virtually no unloading took 
place for forty-eight hours. So complete 
was the destruction that a decision was 
made to discontinue the building of the 
U.S. Mulberry. Some parts were sal- 
vaged for the artificial harbor at Ar- 
romanches. 

Before the gale, the Allies were ap- 
proaching target figures for unloading on 
their beaches. They had varied the initial 
priorities shortly after mid-June, however, 
in response to General Montgomery's re- 
quest for a quicker build-up of combat 
troops ashore. In both British and U.S. 
sectors combat forces were brought in a 
few days to a week earlier than planned, 
while the build-up of service and support- 
ing troops was reduced proportionately. 
Some shortages occurred in supplies, but 
with the exception of artillery ammunition 
these were not serious because casualties 
and materiel consumption were less than 
had been anticipated. By the day the gale 
began, the British had landed 314,547 
men, 54,000 vehicles, and 102,000 tons of 
supplies, while the Americans put ashore 
314,504 men, 41,000 vehicles, and 116,000 
tons of supplies. 5 



The Enemy 

The combined Allied command had 
worked smoothly to bring the full force of 
naval, air, and ground power to bear on 
the enemy. The Germans from almost the 
first blow had been off balance, despite 
years of preparation to meet just such an 
attack as struck on 6 June. For this failure 
there are many explanations. Most strik- 
ing perhaps was the German lack of the 
sort of unified command which the Allies 
had in SHAEF. At the head of the German 
state was Adolf Hitler, bearing the re- 
sounding title of Fuehrer und Reichskanzler 
des Grossdeutschen Reiches und Oberster Befehls- 
haber der Deutschen Wehrmacht, a dictator 
who controlled the Army, not only as the 
political head of the Reich, but also from 
1941 on as actual Commander in Chief of 
the Army (Oberbefehlshaber des Heeres — 
Ob. d. H.). His Armed Forces High Com- 
mand (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht — 
OKW), headed by Generalfeldmarschall 
Wilhelm Keitel, theoretically was used by 
Hitler in controlling the Army (Oberkom- 
mando des Heeres — OKH), the Navy (Ober- 
kommando der Kriegsmarine — OKM), and 
the Air Force (Oberkommando der Luftwaffe — 
OKL) High Commands. But this was so 
in name only. OKW's control was nulli- 
fied by the fact that the head of the Air 
Force, Reichsmarschall Hermann Goer- 



5 British statistics are from COSINTREP 36 (statis- 
tics for 18 June 44), 20Jun 44, SHAEF AG 370, 2/11; 
U.S. statistics from [Clifford L. Jones] Neptune: 
Training for and Mounting the Operation, and the 
Artificial Ports (The Administrative and Logistical 
History of the ETO, Pt. VI), MS, II, 175n, OCMH. 
COSINTREP 36 shows a figure of 307,439 men for 
U.S. forces as opposed to the Jones figure. Jones's fig- 
ures were based on daily reports of unloadings sub- 
mitted by the engineer special brigades on Omaha 
and Utah Beaches. The nature and validity of the 
various reports are discussed in Ruppenthal. Logistical 
Support of the Armies. 



176 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 




ADOLF HITLER 



ing, and the head of the Navy, first Gross- 
admiral Erich Raeder and later Grossad- 
miral Karl Doenitz, had personal 
relationships with Hitler stronger than 
those of OKW, and by the opposition of 
the Army to any unification of the serv- 
ices. As the war in the east occupied more 
and more of Hitler's and the Army's atten- 
tion, OKH was turned into the main 
headquarters for the war in the east, while 
OKW became the chief headquarters for 
dealing with the war in other theaters. 
Within OKH the conduct of operations 
was in the hands of the Army General 
Staff ( Generalstab des Heeres — Gen. St. d. H.), 
initially under Generaloberst Franz 
Haider and later successively under Gen- 
eraloberst Kurt Zeitzler, Generaloberst 
Heinz Guderian, and General der Infan- 
terie Hans Krebs. Within OKW the con- 



duct of operations was handled by the 
Armed Forces Operations Staff (Wehr- 
machtfuehrungsstab — WFSt) under General 
der Artillerie Alfred Jodl. 6 

The confusion which existed in the 
German high command in Berlin ex- 
tended to the west as well. Until 6 June 
when the Allied forces stormed ashore, 
there existed no unified control of the 




FIELD MARSHAL KEITEL 

enemy forces in France nor any clear-cut 
policy on how to deal with the attack. 
Hitler's absorption with the problems of 
the Eastern Front, his lack of a consistent 

6 The organizational structure and evolution of 
OKW and OKH have been described in great detail 
by committees of German officers working under the 
auspices of the Historical Division between 1 946 and 
1948. See MSS # T-101, The German Armed Forces 
High Command (Winter et at.) and # T-ll 1, The 
German Army High Command (Haider et al.). See 
also Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, Ch. IV. 



D DAY TO THE BREAKOUT 



177 



policy for the west, and his unwillingness 
to mark out clearly the authority of com- 
manders in the field were among the fac- 
tors responsible for this situation. General- 
feldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt had 
been reappointed Commander in Chief 
West (Oberbefehlshaber West) in March 
1942, but he had never been given control 
of the air and naval forces of the area. 
Rather their authority extended in some 
cases to units essential to his activities. The 
Third Air Force (Generalfeldmarschall 
Hugo Sperrle), whose planes were to sup- 
port the ground troops in the west, had 
administrative control over paratroopers 
under Rundstedt's command, as well as 
control over antiaircraft units. Navy Group 
West (Admiral Theodor Krancke) con- 
trolled most of the coast artillery of the 
area, although an arrangement existed 
whereby in the event of a landing this ar- 
tillery was to be placed at the disposal of 
the ground commanders. Security forces, 
used in the occupation of France, were un- 
der two military governors (Militaerbe- 
fehlshaber) of France and Northern France 
(including Belgium), who were subordi- 
nated directly to OKH. For tactical pur- 
poses against invasion forces they could be 
placed under Rundstedt. While the inten- 
tion was to make all forces in the west 
available to the Commander in Chief West 
in case of a landing, the command or- 
ganization which would make effective use 
of them possible was never clearly estab- 
lished. 7 

More damaging still to German unified 
command was the ground force situation. 
The German theater headquarters in the 
west (Netherlands, Belgium, and France) 
since late 1940 was OB WEST. The Com- 
mander in Chief West was concurrently 
the commander in chief of Army Group D 
and as such exercised command over the 



ground forces in the theater: Armed Forces 
Commander Netherlands; Fifteenth, Seventh, 
First, and, since August 1943, Nineteenth 
Armies. Rundstedt's control had been en- 
croached upon at the end of 1943 when 
the energetic and able Generalfeldmar- 
schall Erwin Rommel, commanding the 
Army Group for Special Employment and di- 
rectly subordinate to OKW, came to the 
west. Rommel had been made responsible 
for the inspection of all coastal defenses in 
the west and ordered to prepare specific 
plans to repel Allied landings in this area. 
His headquarters was also earmarked as a 
reserve command to conduct the principal 
battle in case of an invasion. His direct 
subordination to OKW was terminated by 
mutual agreement between Rundstedt 
and Rommel in early January 1944. Rom- 
mel's headquarters was redesignated as 
Army Group B, and he was, in his capacity 
as the anti-invasion commander, given 
tactical command over the German forces 
in northwestern France, Belgium, and the 
Netherlands. However, Rommel retained 
his former inspection functions for the 
coastal defenses and so remained in a 
position to influence over-all policy. 

Differences of opinion existed between 
OB WEST a.nd Army Group B as to the exact 
role Rommel would play and the extent of 
his powers in case of an invasion. Rommel 
as a field marshal had the right of direct 
appeal to Hitler as Commander in Chief 
of the Army, and he made use of it to gain 
support for his views. Thus in the spring of 
1944 for a short period Rommel won 
broader powers for his command, control 
of all armored and motorized units and all 

7 Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, Chs. IV and VII, 
has detailed information on the enemy. As in that vol- 
ume, the term Commander in Chief West will be used 
here to refer to the person holding the title Oberbe- 
fehlshaber West, while the abbreviated form OB WEST 
will refer to his headquarters. 



178 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 




FIELD MARSHAL VON RUND- 
STEDT 



GHQ artillery in the west, and some con- 
trol over the German armies in southwest- 
ern France and on the Mediterranean 
coast. However, after further study of the 
effect of these powers upon the command 
in the west, Hitler reversed his opinion and 
canceled the extra powers given Rommel. 
In May of 1944, Rundstedt, in an effort to 
make clear his status as theater com- 
mander and to counterbalance Rommel's 
position, established Army Group G under 
Generaloberst Johannes Blaskowitz to 
command the German forces in southwest- 
ern France and on the Mediterranean 
coast. In spite of this move and in spite of 
his nominally subordinate position, Rom- 
mel retained a disproportionate influence 
in the west until after the invasion. 

The lack of unity manifested itself most 



strikingly in the disagreement on defense 
policies to be followed against an Allied 
landing. Rommel, who had learned in 
Africa of the effect air superiority could 
have on the movement of armored forces, 
felt that the Germans would lack mobility 
to deal with an Allied invasion backed by 
strong air support. He held, therefore, that 
the British and U.S. assault must be met 
with mines, barricades, and heavy fortifi- 




GENERAL BLASKOWITZ 



cations. Ground reserves must be brought 
forward near the coast so that they could 
crush the attack in forty-eight hours. 
Rundstedt believed that some reserves 
must be held back from the coast in posi- 
tion to be sent against the main point of 
Allied strength. The period from Rom- 
mel's appointment to D Day was marked 
by his attempts to get control of the re- 



D DAY TO THE BREAKOUT 



179 



serves, and by Rundstedt's efforts to hold 
something back. Rundstedt in November 

1943 set up Panzer Group West (General der 
Panzertruppen Leo Freiherr Geyr von 
Schweppenburg) to control armored units 
in any large-scale counterattack against 
Allied landings. Geyr's stanch support of 
Rundstedt's views on defense made im- 
possible co-operation with Rommel on the 
employment of armored forces against a 
landing. While Rommel in the spring of 

1944 was unsuccessful in gaining complete 
control of all armored and motorized units 
in the west, he nonetheless achieved a par- 
tial victory when three panzer divisions 
were assigned to him as Army Group B re- 
serves. Like many other arrangements of 
the period, this assignment was somewhat 
complicated, since Geyr retained the re- 
sponsibility for the training and organiza- 
tion of the units, while Rommel had 
tactical control. The latter's position was 
further confused when four panzer-type 
divisions were set aside as a central mobile 
reserve under the direct command of 
OKW. Thus D Day found an uneasy ar- 
rangement between Rundstedt and Rom- 
mel in which neither had real control and 
in which the policy of defense against 
Allied landings was undetermined. 

The forces available to the enemy com- 
manders for use on D Day left much to be 
desired. Rundstedt's command at that 
time consisted of fifty-eight divisions. Of 
these, thirty-three were static or reserve 
and fit only for limited employment. 8 The 
forces available were divided into army 
groups: Army Group B under Rommel and 
Army Group G under Blaskowitz. Rommel's 
forces held the Brittany, Normandy, and 
Channel coasts, while Blaskowitz's units 
held southern France and the French 



almost in its entirety under Seventh Army's 
jurisdiction, the enemy had seven infantry 
divisions. 10 One panzer division had been 
brought forward to Caen and some ele- 
ments were on the coast in that area. In 
Brittany, besides the three static divisions, 
there were three infantry and one para- 
chute divisions. An additional parachute 
division was in process of being organized. 
The nearest armor reserves were all south 
or east of the British left flank. One panzer 
division was in the area of Evreux, another 
south of Chartres, and a third was astride 
the Seine between Paris and Rouen. Other 
reinforcements had to come from south of 
the Loire or from the Pas-de-Calais area. 

The enemy forces in the west, while con- 
siderably strengthened since February and 
March 1944 by new units and equipment, 
still showed the effects of being spread too 
thin, of having served as a replacement 
pool for the Eastern Front, and of having 
their ranks filled with worn-out troops 
from campaigns in the east. So-called mo- 
bile units frequently had little more than 
horse-drawn vehicles and bicycles to give 
them mobility. Many of the panzer units, 



Atlantic coast. 9 ( Map I ) 

In the assault area proper, which was 



8 Static divisions were immobile defense divisions. 
They were designed as permanent garrison troops for 
the west. 

" Rommel's forces included: Seventh Army (General- 
oberst Friedrich Dollmann), which held Brittany and 
a substantial part of Normandy; Fifteenth Army (Gen- 
eraloberst Hans von Salmuth), which held the Kanal- 
kueste (the coastal area from Dunkerque to the Seine 
estuary); and, for tactical purposes, Armed Forces Com- 
mander Netherlands (General der Luftwaffe Friedrich 
Christiansen). Blaskowitz' command included First 
Army (General der Infanterie Kurt von der Cheval- 
lerie), which held the Atlantic coast of France south 
of Brittany, and Nineteenth Army (General der Infan- 
terie Georg von Sodenstern), which held the French 
Mediterranean coast. 

10 The 319th Division stationed on the Channel 
Islands never figured in any of the fighting. Because 
of Hitler's orders, the Germans could not even con- 
sider it as a reserve. It will therefore not be included 
in any calculations of Seventh Army's strength. 



180 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



despite a speed-up in the delivery of tanks 
in the spring of 1944, lacked half of their 
heavier armored weapons. 

The area struck by the Allies was by no 
means the best defended. Since the main 
British and U.S. attack was expected in 
the Pas-de-Calais, the earlier emphasis 
had been placed on building defenses 
there. 11 The result was that, even though 
defense construction efforts between the 
Orne and Cherbourg had been greatly ac- 
celerated in 1944, the assault area was 
much less protected than Rommel had 
planned. Even after the D-Day attack, 
OKW and the field commanders held to 
the view that the main Allied offensive 
would be directed east of the Seine on the 
Kanalkueste. While Hitler, almost alone 
among his advisers, had concluded that 
the Cotentin and Caen areas were logical 
places for an attack and had ordered them 
reinforced, he shared the general delusion 
that the main landings would come in the 
Pas-de-Calais. As a result, there was no 
attempt in the early weeks of the invasion 
to order Fifteenth Army troops to Nor- 
mandy. The Allies had worked hard to 
create the impression that they were mass- 
ing forces on the east coast of England for 
an attack on the Kanalkueste, and German 
intelligence made the error of estimating 
the Allied force before D Day at more 
than double its actual strength. 12 

With confusion of authority in the Ger- 
man command, lack of an agreed policy 
for dealing with the Allies, a mistaken 
notion that the attack of 6 June was per- 
haps not the main one, lack of air support, 
supply difficulties, and troops who showed 
either the strain of too many campaigns 
on many fronts or the softness and care- 
lessness promoted by four years of static 
duty on the Atlantic coast, the enemy was 
ill prepared to meet the massive blow 



which the Allies unleashed by land, sea, 
and air. On the side of the enemy lay the 
advantage of fixed positions, however in- 
complete, against forces landing from 
small craft, interior supply lines, knowl- 
edge of the terrain, hedgerows which were 
of enormous value to the defender, and 
years of experience. Time would show that 
the advantages favored the invading 
forces, but there were enough factors on 
the side of the enemy to enable him to 
make a tough fight in the beachhead. 

Allied Command 

The command of Allied ground forces 
in the assault had been given to General 
Montgomery several months before the in- 
vasion of Europe. On 1 June 1944 General 
Eisenhower announced that until several 
armies were deployed on a secure beach- 
head and until developing operations in- 
dicated the desirability of a command 
reorganization, "all Ground Forces on the 
Continent [would be] under the Com- 
mander in Chief, 21st Army Group." 13 
During this period, General Eisenhower 
retained direct responsibility only for ap- 
proving major operational policies and the 
principal phases of operational plans. As 
long as the area of operations remained 
constricted and as long -as it was necessary 
to keep Supreme Headquarters physically 
in the United Kingdom, the Supreme 



11 The term, "Pas-de-Calais," as used in this vol- 
ume, applies to the coast line washed by the Strait of 
Dover between Dunkerque and the Somme. 

12 The estimate was approximately 80 divisions, 10 
of which were believed to be airborne. The United 
States had 20 divisions in the United Kingdom on D 
Day; British and Canadian forces numbered 18. Not 
until near the end of the war did the Allied force sur- 
pass the German estimate. 

13 Memo, Command and Organization after D Day 
Overlord, 1 Jun 44, SHAEF G-3 322.011-1. Com- 
mand and Control of U.S. /British Forces. 



D DAY TO THE BREAKOUT 



181 



Commander felt he had to place control 
of day-to-day actions in the hands of one 
man. Under plans of campaigns approved 
by General Eisenhower, General Mont- 
gomery held responsibility for the co-ordi- 
nation of ground operations, including 
such matters as timing the attacks, fixing 
local objectives, and establishing bound- 
aries. Until the lodgment area could be 
firmly held, the Allied armies were to 
operate under the Overlord plan which 
had been outlined before D Day. 

General Eisenhower began during the 
first week of the operation to visit his 
ground commanders and early in July 
established a small advance command 
post in Normandy near the British com- 
mander. He was kept informed of oper- 
ational developments and future plans 
were outlined to him for approval. In 
many cases, his intervention took the 
form of a mere nod of assent; in others he 
personally directed air or supply agencies 
to provide prompt and adequate support 
to the Allied forces. Until the 12th Army 
Group was established at the beginning of 
August, 14 however, the actual command of 
Allied ground forces in the field was Gen- 
eral Montgomery's and his actions are a 
vital part of the story of the Supreme 
Command. 15 

Though the initial lodgment gained 
during the first week was smaller than the 
Allies had planned, they had grounds for 
optimism in that their casualties had been 
unexpectedly light and the anticipated 
enemy counterattack had failed to ma- 
terialize. On 13 June General Mont- 
gomery, pleased over developments on his 
front, expressed his intention of capturing 
Caen, establishing a strong eastern flank 
astride the Orne River from the Channel 
as far south as Thury-Harcourt, some 
fifteen miles south of Caen, and setting up 



the 8 British Corps in the area about Mont 
Pingon, west of Thury-Harcourt, and 
Flers, some thirty-five miles south of Caen. 
(See Map 77) First Army was to hold firmly 



at Caumont and Carentan, thrust south- 
west from Caumont toward Villedieu and 
Avranches while sending other forces in a 
northwesterly direction toward La Haye- 
du-Puits and Valognes, and capture Cher- 
bourg. In the course of the day, the arrival 
of German armored elements on General 
Montgomery's front led him to revise his 
plans and limit the advance in the British 
zone. Emphasis was placed on pulling the 
enemy on to the Second British Army 
while U.S. forces pushed toward Cher- 
bourg. 16 

Despite Montgomery's second thought, 
both Caen and Cherbourg remained the 
primary objectives for Allied forces in mid- 
June. The former opened the way to near- 
by airfields and small neighboring ports. 
Cherbourg was vitally important if the 
Allies were to get a major port into full 
operation before the end of the summer 
when it was feared that open beaches 
could no longer be used for unloading sup- 
plies and troops. General Montgomery, 
believing that Caen "was really the key to 
Cherbourg," in that capture of the former 
would release forces then required to in- 
sure the security of the left flank, on 18 
June set the Second British Army's imme- 
diate task as the seizure of Caen. Opera- 
tions were to begin on the 18th and reach 
their peak on the 22d. He directed the 
First U.S. Army to isolate the Cotentin 



14 See below, pages 203-04, for some changes dur- 
ing the month of August. 

15 An excellent summary of the command arrange- 
ments during the weeks of the assault and the reasons 
for the setup are given in Msg, Eisenhower to Mar- 
shall, CPA 9-0230, 19 Aug 44, Eisenhower personal 
file. 

16 Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic, pp. 85-91. 



182 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



peninsula and then thrust northward 
through Valognes to Cherbourg. As a sec- 
ond priority, the First Army was to send 
other units from their positions east of 
Carentan southward toward St. L6 to 
secure the high ground east of the Vire 
which dominated the town. Montgomery 
hoped that Caen and Cherbourg would be 
taken by 24 June. 17 The order of 18 June 
was changed the following day, and the 
strong attack planned on the left wing 
against Caen was shifted to the right, 
southeast of Caen. The operations were 
postponed from 18 to 22 June. The great 
gale forced another postponement to the 
25th. 

In the west better progress was reported. 
The VII Corps cut the Cotentin peninsula 
on 18 June and then, driving north with 
three divisions, forced the surrender of 
Cherbourg on 26 and 27 June. The entire 
peninsula was cleared by 1 July. In the op- 
eration, the corps sustained some 22,000 
casualties, while the enemy lost 39,000 
prisoners and an undetermined number of 
dead and wounded. 18 

The enemy at Caen stood firm. Mont- 
gomery's renewed attack of 25-26 June, 
hit hard by German armored counter- 
attacks, could not get moving. When two 
new enemy panzer divisions (the 9th and 
10th SS), brought from the Eastern Front, 
were identified, Montgomery ordered a 
halt and began regrouping his forces with 
the intention of withdrawing his armor 
into a reserve prepared for renewed 
thrusts. 19 

At the end of June, the Second British 
Army with a force equivalent to some six- 
teen divisions was holding a front approxi- 
mately thirty-three miles long running 
northeastward from Caumont to the 
Channel. 20 Along the twenty miles of that 
front between Caumont and Caen, the 



enemy had concentrated seven armored 
divisions and elements of an eighth, or two 
thirds of the German armor in France, 
while two infantry divisions faced the ex- 
treme left flank of the British forces. The 
First U.S. Army with thirteen divisions, 
including two armored and two airborne, 
was holding a front some fifty to fifty-five 
miles long extending from Caumont west- 
ward to Barneville and the sea. Opposed 
to this force were seven German divisions. 21 

The German armored divisions, al- 
though superior to British and U.S. 
armored units in numbers, had been badly 
battered in the June fighting. Suffering 
from the shortage of fuel and the break- 
down of tank maintenance service brought 
about by Allied air and artillery opera- 
tions, they were unable to bring their 
whole strength to bear. Nevertheless, the 
enemy forces waged a savage fight. 

The Allies were fortunate that even at 
the end of June the enemy still feared a 
main attack on the Pas-de-Calais. At Hit- 
ler's orders the Fifteenth Army, which could 
have sent additional reinforcements 

17 Montgomery dir to comdrs, M-502, 18 Jun 44, 
FUSA files 21 A Gp dirs. 

18 Ruppenthal, Utah Beach to Cherbourg, p. 199. 

19 Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic, pp. 100-101 . 

20 There were twelve and one-half divisions (in- 
cluding three armored and one airborne) plus seven 
independent armored brigades and three independent 
infantry brigades, or approximately sixteen divisions 
according to British Historical Section estimates. 

21 Actually nine divisions were listed, but of three 
of these there were only remnants. First U.S. Army 
estimated that their combined strength was "prob- 
ably . . . only one full strength infantry division." At 
the end of June, moreover, First Army declared that 
only a "battle group" each from the 265th and 275th 
Divisions (included in the total) had reached its front. 
Some forces of the 2d Panzer Division were active in 
late June on the extreme left flank of the U.S. line. 
Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic, pp. 102-06; 
FUSA Rpt of Opns, pp. 91-92. Throughout this and 
the following chapter the author has relied heavily on 
a study of German units made by Mrs. Magna E. 
Bauer of the Foreign Studies Branch, OCMH. 



D DAY TO THE BREAKOUT 



183 



against the Allies, was holding most of its 
divisions in place. The Allies had con- 
tinued since D Day to play on German 
fears of another landing. A special effort 
had been made to persuade the Germans 
that General Patton was waiting with a 
group of armies in eastern England ready 
for an attack. Various ruses were used to 
heighten German apprehensions concern- 
ing the Kanalkueste. When General Patton 
went to the Continent as commander of 
the Third U.S. Army and it became neces- 
sary to commit the 1st U.S. Army Group 
to action, the unit was renamed 12th 
Army Group, and a paper unit was left in 
the United Kingdom. Lt. Gen. LesleyJ. 
McNair was appointed commander of the 
1st Army Group in July. 

The Battle for Caen 

The successful culmination of the Cher- 
bourg campaign found neither the battle 
for Caen nor the attack toward St. L6 
progressing well. Heavy concentrations of 
German armor helped slow British forces 
to the east; hedgerows of the bocage country 
slowed the advance of the British right 
wing and the entire U.S. army. Tanks 
were confined for the most part to narrow 
roads bordered by hedges which afforded 
excellent cover to the German guns, and 
the infantry had to dig out an enemy en- 
trenched in the hedgerows of hundreds of 
tiny orchards in the Calvados countryside. 
Heavy rains interfered with air reconnais- 
sance and virtually stopped tactical air 
attacks. As the struggle for St. L6 bogged 
down in a slow and costly fight, the danger 
developed that an attritional battle such 
as the Allies had fought in Flanders in 
World War I might be imminent. 

With the diminution of the battle's 
tempo, the satisfaction which the Allies 



had felt over gaining a foothold on the 
Continent gave way to disappointment 
and criticism. As early as mid-June Gen- 
eral Montgomery was blamed not only by 
many U.S., but by some British, com- 
manders for his slowness in taking Caen. 
Among the British, the chief critics were 
airmen who felt that the 21 Army Group 
commander had let them down by his 
failure to take terrain in the airfield coun- 
try southeast of Caen. 22 Although General 
Montgomery and his chief of staff, General 
de Guingand, were able to argue effec- 
tively that they had made no final com- 
mitment as to the date of capturing the 
airfields, the critics cited the 21 Army 
Group commander's speech to army chiefs 
on 7 April 1944 in which he had said that 
the task of the Second British Army was 
"to assault to the West of the R. Orne and 
to develop operations to the south-east, in 
order to secure airfield sites and to protect 
the eastern flank of First U.S. Army while 
the latter is capturing Cherbourg." Fur- 
ther, they felt he had not lived up to his 
analysis of the situation on 15 May 1944 
when he stressed the need of deep armored 
penetrations and the pegging out of claims 
well inland to hold the ground dominating 
road axes in the bocage country. 23 

These criticisms appear to rest on a 
fundamental misunderstanding of Mont- 
gomery's intentions in Normandy. His 
plan, as interpreted by him, by his staff, 
and, more recently, by General Bradley, 



22 Air Chief Marshal Leigh- Mallory was a notable 
exception. 

23 Brief Summary of Operation Overlord as Af- 
fecting the Army, address to officers in the four field 
armies in London, 7 April 1944; Address by General 
Montgomery to the General Officers of the Four 
Field Armies on 15 May 1944 (notes). Photostatic 
reproduction of the originals, including General 
Montgomery's penciled alterations, furnished the 
author by the Historical Section, Cabinet Office. 



184 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



was to draw enemy forces on to the British 
front in the Caen area, while U.S. forces 
were making the main Allied drive on the 
right. General Bradley has appraised the 
situation in his statement: 

For another four weeks it fell to the British 
to pin down superior enemy forces in that 
sector [Caen] while we maneuvered into posi- 
tion for the U.S. breakout. With the Allied 
world crying for blitzkrieg the first week after 
we landed, the British endured their passive 
role with patience and forbearing. ... In set- 
ting the stage for our breakout the British 
were forced to endure the barbs of critics who 
shamed them fori failing to push out vigor- 
ously as the Americans did. The intense 
rivalry that aftertaard strained relations be- 
tween the British and American commands 
might be said to have sunk its psychological 
roots into that passive mission of the British 
on the beachhead. 21 

While General Montgomery had ini- 
tially planned to take Caen and the air- 
fields beyond in the first days of the assault, 
he concluded that he was achieving the 
main objective of pulling armor on to that 
front by a continued drive in the direction 
of Caen. There was no ruin of his main 
plan in the failure to take that city. The 
Supreme Commander, while staking great 
importance on the U.S. breakout west of 
St. L6, was eager to see a more spirited of- 
fensive in the east. It was perhaps for this 
reason that the two commanders did not 
always see eye to eye in Normandy. Eisen- 
hower desired to hit the enemy hard 
wherever he could be attacked. Montgom- 
ery held that it was enough to keep the 
enemy occupied in the east while the main 
drive went forward in the west. Some 
members of his staff believed that the 
Eisenhower policy might secure imme- 
diate gains but endanger the chance to get 
the enemy into a position where he could 
be hit decisively. 25 



Criticism was moderated for a short 
time during the closing days of June as 
U.S. forces took Cherbourg and cleared 
the northern Cotentin. When U.S. and 
British drives in the first week of July fell 
short of the objectives of St. L6 and Caen, 
charges that Montgomery was too cau- 
tious increased. General Eisenhower's 
closest U.S. and British advisers now pro- 
posed that he tactfully tell the 21 Army 
Group commander to push the fight for 
Caen. Clearly worried about the delay, 
the Supreme Commander had instructed 
Air Chief Marshal Tedder only a short 
time before "to keep the closest touch with 
General Montgomery or his representa- 
tives in 21st Army Group, not merely to 
see that their requests are satisfied but to 
see that they have asked for every kind of 
support that is practicable and in maxi- 
mum volume that can be delivered." On 
7 July, he sent the British commander a 
statement of desired objectives, rather 
than a firm order to fight a more aggres- 
sive battle. General Eisenhower spoke of 
the arrival of German reinforcements on 
the U.S. front which had stalled the ad- 
vance toward St. L6 and permitted the 
enemy to withdraw armor for a reserve 
force. Noting that "a major full-dress at- 
tack on the left flank" had not yet been 
attempted, he offered to phase forward 
any unit General Montgomery wanted, 
and to make a U.S. armored division 
available for an attack on the left flank if 
needed. He assured the 21 Army Group 
commander that everything humanly pos- 

24 Bradley, A Soldier's Story, p. 326. 

25 For General Montgomery's intentions, see Mont- 
gomery, Normandy to the Baltic, pp. 1 18-24, and de 
Guingand, Operation Victory, pp. 392-400. British views 
were obtained in interviews with Montgomery's G-2 
and G-3 and with the commander of the Second 
British Army. For General Bradley's views, see his A 
Soldier's Story, pp. 316-18 and 325-26. 



D DAY TO THE BREAKOUT 



185 



sible would be done "to assist you in any 
plan that promises to give us the elbow 
room we need. The air and everything else 
will be available. 26 

General Montgomery, whose staff was 
already considering plans for breaking out 
of the lodgment area and for seizing the 
Brittany peninsula, responded to this 
friendly nudge with the confident assur- 
ance that there would be no stalemate. He 
stressed the difficulties of keeping the ini- 
tiative, and at the same time of avoiding 
reverses. He reminded the Supreme Com- 
mander that the British had taken advan- 
tage of the enemy's willingness to resist at 
Caen to draw enemy armor to that flank 
while the First Army captured Cherbourg. 
The 21 Army Group commander indi- 
cated that a new attack to take Caen was 
under way, and added: "I shall always 
ensure that I am well balanced; at present 
I have no fears of any offensive move the 
enemy might make; I am concentrating 
on making the battle swing our way." 27 

An all-out attack to seize Caen was 
launched by the Second British Army on 
8 July with three infantry divisions and 
two armored brigades. As a means of pre- 
paring the way, General Montgomery had 
requested a heavy bombardment on the 
northern outskirts of the city. In accord- 
ance with his request, Bomber Command 
dropped 2,300 tons of bombs between 
2150 and 2230, 7 July. At 0420 the follow- 
ing morning, 1 British Corps attacked 
west and north of Caen. Canadian forces 
took Franqueville to the west, while Brit- 
ish forces cleared two small towns just 
north of the city and closed into its north- 
east corner at the end of the day. On the 
following day elements of British and 
Canadian forces pushed into the city; 
mopping up was completed on the 10th. 
The Second British Army had thus fin- 



ished the task of capturing that part of 
Caen which lay west of the Orne, but the 
large suburban areas (Faubourg de Vau- 
celles and Colombelles) east of the river 
remained in enemy hands. 28 Air Chief 
Marshal Harris, chief of Bomber Com- 
mand, declared after the war that, while 
the effect of the bombing attack at Caen 
was such that the enemy temporarily lost 
all power of offensive action, the British 
Army had not exploited its opportunities. 
This was due, he said, partly to its delay 
in starting the attack after the bombing, 
and to its failure to continue the offensive 
after the initial successes of 8-9 July.. Gen- 
eral Montgomery, in his account of the 
battle, has stated that it was obviously de- 
sirable to carry out the bombing imme- 
diately before the attack, but that owing 
to the weather forecast it was decided to 
carry out the bombing on the evening be- 
fore the attack. He adds that the advance 
was slowed by cratering and obstruction 
from masses of debris caused by the force 
of the bombing. 29 

Criticism of the Second British Army's 
alleged failure to follow up its opportu- 

26 Eisenhower to Montgomery, 7 Jul 44, SHAEF 
SGS 381 Overlord, 1(a). 

27 Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-508, 8 Jul 44, 
SHAEF SGS 381 Overlord, 1(a). 

28 Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic, pp. 1 14-18; 
Stacey, The Canadian Army, pp. 188-90. 

29 Harris, Bomber Offensive, p. 211; Montgomery, 
Normandy to the Baltic, pp. 117-18. It is not clear what 
the forecast was which led to the decision to bomb on 
the evening of 7 July instead of on the morning of 8 
July. The weather forecast for the night of 7-8 July 
was: "... good clear areas in France. Much cumulus 
and nimbocumulus at Nantes, little cloud at Paris." 
Operation Record Book, Appendices Bomber Com- 
mand Operations, Vol. 4, 4 Jul 44, 11M/A1/5A, 
AHB — Night Raid Report Book 654. As early as 6 
July, the air forces had been told that an appreciable 
air effort would probably be required on the evening 
of 7 July. Extract from Advanced Operational Book of 
Allied Expeditionary Air Force, 6 July 1944, p. 9. This 
extract and extracts from the report cited above are 
in OCMH. 



186 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



nities at Caen was intensified ten days 
later when an attack, described by the 
press as a major attempt to break out to- 
ward the east, was stopped after gains of 
some ten thousand yards. Coming just at 
the time that the U.S. forces, after weeks 
of delays, had finally taken St. L6, the 
Caen offensive was represented as having 
failed. This criticism rested basically on 
the continued misunderstanding by the 
general public of General Montgomery's 
intentions. It is well, therefore, to study 
them as he outlined them on 8 July to 
General Eisenhower. The following ex- 
tracts from his letter summarized his 
position: 

3. Initially, my main pre-occupations 
were: 

(a) To ensure that we kept the initiative, 

and, 

(b) To have no setbacks or reverses. 

It was not always too easy to comply with 
these two fundamental principles, especially 
during the period when we were not too 
strong ourselves and were trying to build up 
our strength. 

But that period is now over, and we can 
now set about the enemy — and are doing so. 

4. I think we must be quite clear as to 
what is vital, and what is not; if we get our 
sense of values wrong we may go astray. 
There are three things which stand out very 
clearly in my mind: 

(a) First. 

We must get the Brittany Peninsula. . . . 

(b) Second. 

We do not want to get hemmed in to a 
relatively small area; we must have space — 
for manoeuvre, for administration, and for 
airfields. 

(c) Third. 

We want to engage the enemy in battle, to 
write-off his troops, and generally to kill Ger- 
mans. Exactly where we do this does not 
matter, so long as (a) and (b) are complied 
with. 

5. The first thing we had to do was to cap- 
ture Cherbourg. 

I wanted Caen too, but we could not man- 



age both at the same time and it was clear to 
me that the enemy would resist fiercely in the 
Caen sector. 

So I laid plans to develop operations 
towards the R. Odon on the Second Army 
front, designed to draw the enemy reserves on 
to the British sector so that the First U.S. 
Army could get to do its business in the west 
all the easier. We were greatly hampered by 
very bad weather. . . . 

But this offensive did draw a great deal on 
it; and I then gave instructions to the First 
Army to get on quickly with its offensive 
southwards on the western flank. . . . 

6. The First Army advance on the right 
has been slower than I thought would be the 
case; the country is terribly close, the weather 
has been atrocious, and certain enemy, re- 
serves have been brought in against it. 

So I then decided to set my eastern flank 
alight, and to put the wind up the enemy by 
seizing Caen and getting bridgeheads over 
the Orne; this action would, indirectly, help 
the business going on over on the western 
flank. 

These operations by Second Army on the 
eastern flank began today; they are going 
very well; they aim at securing Caen and at 
getting our eastern flank on the Orne River — 
with bridgeheads over it. 

7. Having got our eastern flank on the 
Orne, I shall then organize the operations on 
the eastern flank so that our affairs on the 
western flank can be got on with the quicker. 

It may be the best proposition is for the 
Second Army to continue its effort, and to 
drive southwards with its left flank on the 
Orne; or it may be a good proposition for it 
to cross the Orne and establish itself on the 
Falaise road. 

Alternatively, having got Caen and estab- 
lished the eastern flank on the Orne, it may 
be best for Second Army to take over all the 
Caumont area — and to the west of it — and 
thus release some of Bradley's divisions for 
the southward "drive" on the western flank. 

8. Day to day events in the next few days 
will show which is best. 

The attack of Second Army towards Caen, 
which is going on now, is a big show; so far 
only 1 Corps is engaged; 8 Corps takes up 
the running on Monday morning (10 July). 

I shall put everything into it. 



D DAY TO THE BREAKOUT 



187 



It is all part of the bigger tactical plan, 
and it is all in accordance with para 4 above. 



11. I do not need an American armoured 
division for use on my eastern flank; we really 
have all the armour we need. The great thing 
now is to get First and Third Armies up to a 
good strength, and to get them cracking on 
the southward thrust on the western flank, 
and then to turn Patton westwards into the 
Brittany peninsula. 30 

On lOJuly, the 21 Army Group com- 
mander issued orders for the coming Allied 
offensive. He directed the First Army to 
push its right wing strongly southward, to 
pivot on its left, and to swing south and 
east on the general line Le Beny-Bocage- 
Vire-Mortain-Fougeres. Once it reached 
the base of the Cotentin peninsula, it was 
to send a corps into Brittany, directed on 
Rennes and St. Malo. Meanwhile, plans 
were to be made for the second phase of 
the drive in which First Army's strong 
right wing was to make a wide sweep of 
the bocage country toward Laval-Mayenne 
and Le Mans-Alencon. 

General Montgomery reminded his 
commanders that his broad policy re- 
mained unchanged: "It is to draw the 
main enemy forces in to the battle on our 
eastern flank, and to fight them there, so 
that our affairs on the western flank may 
proceed the easier." He then added that 
sincethe enemy had been able to bring 
up reinforcements to oppose the First 
Army's advance, and since it was im- 
portant to speed up the attack on the 
western flank, the operations of the Second 
British Army "must . . . be so staged that 
they will have a direct influence on the 
operations of the First Army, as well as 
holding enemy forces on the eastern flank." 
A degree of caution marked his statement 
that, while he hoped to take the Faubourg 
de Vaucelles, east of the Orne, in the forth- 



coming attack, he was not prepared "to 
have heavy casualties to obtain this bridge- 
head ... as we shall have -plenty else- 
where." He assigned to his units operating 
south of Caen the general line Thury- 
Harcourt-Mont Pincon-Le Beny-Bocage 
as their objective. A reserve of three 
armored divisions was organized for possi- 
ble operations east of the Orne in the gen- 
eral area Caen-Falaise. 31 This directive, 
therefore, contained provisions for a lim- 
ited-objective attack east and south of 
Caen (Goodwood) with the major aim of 
aiding the First Army's advance in the 
west (Cobra), while providing a strong 
reserve armored force for exploitation 
toward Falaise. 32 

The press did not know of these orders. 
Newsmen in the week preceding the at- 
tack stressed the fact that the crucial blow 
for the breakout from the lodgment area 
was to be struck near Caen. Some of Gen- 
eral Montgomery's chief advisers have 
suggested that misconceptions as to the 
21 Army Group commander's objectives 
perhaps arose from the overemphasis he 
placed on the decisiveness of the operation 
in order to insure full air support for the 
operation. Strategic bomber commanders 
did not like to take their planes off stra- 
tegic targets for limited offensives. The 
tendency, therefore, was for the ground 
commander to stress heavily the impor- 
tance of the attack he wanted supported. 
This emphasis may be seen in Mont- 
gomery's request to Eisenhower of 12July. 



30 Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-508, 8 Jul 44, 
SHAEF SGS 381 Overlord, 1(a). 

31 Montgomery's statement and the assignment of 
three armored divisions to the Goodwood attack led 
even some members of the 21 Army Group staff to 
believe that a deep and rapid penetration on the east- 
ern flank was intended. 

32 Montgomery to army comdrs, M-510, 10 Jul 44, 
First U.S. Army files (21 A Gp dirs). 



188 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Referring specifically to his operations be- 
tween Caen and Falaise, he declared: 
"This operation will take place on Mon- 
day 17th July. Grateful if you will issue 
orders that the whole weight of the air 
power is to be available on that day to sup- 
port my land battle. . . . My whole east- 
ern flank will burst into flames on Satur- 
day. The operation on Monday may have 
far-reaching results. . . . " 33 

General Eisenhower responded enthusi- 
astically, saying that all senior airmen 
were in full accord with the plan because 
it would be "a brilliant stroke which will 
knock loose our present shackles." He 
passed on these views to Air Chief Marshal 
Tedder who assured General Montgomery, 
"All the Air Forces will be full out to sup- 
port your far-reaching and decisive plan 
to the utmost of their ability." The 21 
Army Group commander in expressing his 
thanks for these promises of support ex- 
plained that the plan "if successful prom- 
ises to be decisive and therefore necessary 
that the air forces bring full weight to 
bear." .General Eisenhower, perhaps mis- 
understanding the full import of Mont- 
gomery's plans, replied: 

With respect to the plan, I am confident 
that it will reap a harvest from all the sow- 
ing you have been doing during the past 
weeks. With our whole front acting aggres- 
sively against the enemy so that he is pinned 
to the ground, O'Connor's [Lt. Gen. Sir 
Richard O'Connor, 8 British Corps com- 
mander] plunge into his vitals will be de- 
cisive. I am not discounting the difficulties, 
nor the initial losses, but in this case I am 
viewing the prospects with the most tremen- 
dous optimism and enthusiasm. I would not 
be at all surprised to see you gaining a victory 
that will make some of the "old classics" look 
like a skirmish between patrols. 

As an added indication that the Supreme 
Commander thought the drive to the east 
was likely to be something spectacular, 



there is the final statement that 21 Army 
Group could count on Bradley "to keep 
his troops fighting like the very devil, 
twenty-four hours a day, to provide the 
opportunity your armored corps will need, 
and to make the victory complete." 34 

Allied airmen were particularly im- 
pressed by the scale of air power requested 
to support the Caen attack. General Mont- 
gomery's request came at a time when 
plans were being made for the First Army's 
breakout, west of St. L6. Although the 
latter offensive was listed as the main 
operation in the lodgment area, the attack 
near Caen was supported by 7,700 tons of 
bombs as opposed to 4,790 tons near 
St. L6. 35 While the restricted area of the 
St. L6 bombing meant that the small 
tonnage of bombs gave greater saturation 
of the area, Air Chief Marshal Leigh- 
Mallory in his survey of the six major air 
attacks in Normandy declared that the 
bombing offensive at Caen was "the heavi- 
est and most concentrated air attack 
in support of ground troops ever at- 
tempted." 36 

33 Dempsey to author, 12 Mar 47; Williams to 
author, 1 Aug 51 ; de Guingand, Operation Victory, pp. 
401-03; Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-49, 12 Jul 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 

34 Eisenhower to Montgomery, S-55476, 13 Jul44; 
Montgomery to Tedder, M-53, 14 Jul44; Eisenhower 
to Montgomery, 14 Jul44. All in Eisenhower personal 
file. Tedder to Montgomery, 13 Jul44, SHAEF SGS 
381 Overlord, 1(a). 

35 A British reviewer of this chapter has noted that 
General Bradley would not accept cratering and 
"torn-down buildings" but would have liked to have 
the support of Bomber Command. British heavy 
bombers, he adds, were excluded from the support 
program because for some technical reason they could 
not carry the necessary small bombs. The author's 
purpose in contrasting the tonnages dropped is not 
to imply lack of British air support for Cobra, but 
rather to note the importance attached to air support 
for Goodwood. 

36 Leigh-Mallory Despatch, p. 64. Harris, Bomber 
Offensive, p. 212, cites the tonnage at Caen as 6,800. 
Stacey, The Canadian Army, p. 189, uses Leigh- 
Mallory' s figure. 



D DAY TO THE BREAKOUT 



189 



Heavy bombers opened the attack south 
and east of Caen at 0545, 18 July, with a 
forty-five minute pounding. After an inter- 
val of thirty minutes, medium bombers at- 
tacked for another three quarters of an 
hour. In all some 1,676 heavy bombers 
and 343 medium and light bombers of the 
Bomber Command and the Eighth and 
Ninth Air Forces hit the German posi- 
tions, dropping more than three times the 
tonnage loosed on Caen ten days earlier. 
Ground attacks began at 0745. Three 
armored divisions operating in the center 
of the line progressed well in the morning, 
but were brought to a standstill in the 
afternoon by heavy antitank fire and 
armored counterattacks. To the right and 
left of the armored units, the infantry 
made limited advances in heavy rain on 
the 19th and 20th. By evening of the 20th, 
the British forces had come to a halt. The 
infantry relieved the armored units, which 
were drawn back into reserve, and plans 
were made for a later advance to push the 
left flank eastward to the Dives and gain 
additional ground between the Odon and 
the Orne. Of the 18-20 July attack, Gen- 
eral Montgomery said: "We had, how- 
ever, largely attained our purpose; in the 
centre 8 Corps, had advanced ten thou- 
sand yards, fought and destroyed many 
enemy tanks, and taken two thousand 
prisoners. The eastern suburbs of Caen 
had been cleared and the Orne bridge- 
head had been more than doubled in 
size." 37 

Although the 21 Army Group attack 
had achieved its objective of attracting 
German armor to the eastern front and 
thus aiding the U.S. breakout to the west, 
now scheduled for 24 July, it was difficult 
to convince newsmen that so much ground 
and air strength had been expended with 
the idea of gaining such modest results. 
The skepticism was the more pronounced 



because of an interview which General 
Montgomery gave the press after the of- 
fensive opened. Apparently in an effort to 
dispel the unjust assumption that British 
troops were doing little fighting, and to 
disguise the big U.S. drive, he stressed the 
decisiveness of the attack then under way 
south of Caen. When the offensive had 
halted, General Montgomery's statements 
were contrasted with General Dempsey's 
pronouncement at the conclusion of the 
battle that there had been no intention of 
doing anything more than establishing a 
bridgehead over the Orne. The reaction 
of many newsmen was perhaps .best ex- 
pressed by Drew Middleton, a New York 
Times correspondent whose columns had 
been friendly to General Montgomery, 
but who now wrote: "In view of this state- 
ment [Second British Army's] the prelimi- 
nary ballyhoo attending the offensive by 
Twenty- First Army Group and the use of 
the words 'broke through' in the first state- 
ment from that headquarters were all the 
more regrettable." 38 

Allied airmen were angry because their 
powerful air strike was followed by such 
limited ground gains — "seven thousand 
tons of bombs for seven miles" as one air 
marshal put it. In heated discussions at 
SHAEF, critics of General Montgomery 
condemned his slowness in advancing. 
Some British and U.S. staff members, 
who appeared unaware of Montgomery's 
main objectives, speculated on the possi- 
bility of relieving the 21 Army Group 
commander in order to speed up the ad- 
vance south of Caen. The Supreme Com- 
mander was cool to these suggestions and 
to proposals that he speedily assume com- 



37 Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic, pp. 127-34; 
Stacey, The Canadian Army, pp. 188-90. See also 
Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War II, 
III, 207-09. 

38 New York Times dispatches, July 17-25, 1944. 



190 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



mand of the field forces. Even when a 
British member of his staff warned him 
that the U.S. forces would think he had 
sold them out to the British if he con- 
tinued to support Montgomery, General 
Eisenhower showed considerable reluc- 
tance to intervene in the battle beyond 
making a firm request for more rapid ad- 
vances on the British front. 39 

Although refraining from any positive 
action relative to shifts in the Allied com- 
mand, General Eisenhower apparently 
shared the view held by others at SHAEF 
that Montgomery should have pushed 
faster and harder at Caen. In his letter of 
21 July to the British commander, the 
strongest he had yet written to him, the 
SupremeCommander indicated that, after 
the Second British Army had been unable 
in late June and early July to provide 
favorable conditions for the First Army's 
drive to the south, he had pinned his hopes 
on a major drive in the Caen area. That 
he did not regard a strong, limited action 
around Caen as the same thing was shown 
rather strikingly in his next statement: "A 
few days ago, when armored divisionsof 
Second Army, assisted by a tremendous 
air attack, broke through the enemy's 
forward lines, I was extremely hopeful and 
optimistic. I thought that at last we had 
him and were going to roll him up. That 
did not come about." Now, his immediate 
hopes were pinned on Bradley's attack 
west of St. Lo, which would require Allied 
aggressiveness all along the line. General 
Eisenhower specified a continuous strong 
attack and the gaining of terrain for air- 
fields and space on the eastern flank as 
contributions expected of General Demp- 
sey's forces. The Supreme Commander 
added that he was aware of the serious 
reinforcement problem which faced the 
British, but felt that this was another rea- 



son why they should get their attack under 
way. "Eventually," he pointed out, "the 
American ground strength will necessarily 
be much greater than the British. But 
while we have equality in size we must go 
forward shoulder to shoulder, with honors 
and sacrifices equally shared." 40 

At the time this letter was being written, 
General Montgomery was issuing a new 
directive ordering intensive operations 
along the Second British Army front. This 
was sent to Eisenhower with a request that 
the 21 Army Group commander be in- 
formed if they did not now see eye to eye 
on operations. The Supreme Commander 
replied that they were apparently in com- 
plete agreement that a vigorous and per- 
sistent offensive should be sustained by 
both First and Second Armies. 41 

Even as the plans were being made for 
the renewed offensive which was to lead to 
the breakout, criticism of General Mont- 
gomery continued to mount in the press. 
When informed by the War Department 
near the end of July that some newspapers 
in the United States were still attacking 
General Montgomery, the SupremeCom- 
mander emphasized his personal responsi- 
bility for the policy which had been fol- 
lowed in Normandy since the invasion. He 
declared that such critics apparently for- 
got that "I am not only inescapably re- 

39 Butcher, My Three Tears With Eisenhower, pp. 617 - 
24, makes clear the strong feeling which existed at 
SHAEF during this period on the matter of Caen. 
The information has been checked by interviews with 
nearly every key member of SHAEF and by exami- 
nation of private papers and diaries. See Crusade in 
Europe, pp. 266-68, for General Eisenhower's postwar 
reaction. 

40 Eisenhower to Montgomery, 21 Jul 44, Eisen- 
hower personal file. 

♦'Montgomery to Bradley, Dempsey, and others, 
M-512, 21 Jul 44, 12 A Gp files 371.3 Military Ob- 
jectives. Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-65, 22 Jul 
44; Eisenhower to Montgomery, 23 Jul 44. Both in 
Eisenhower personal file. 



D DAY TO THE BREAKOUT 



191 



sponsible for strategy and general missions 
in this operation but seemingly also ignore 
the fact that it is my responsibility to de- 
termine the efficiency of my various sub- 
ordinates and make appropriate report to 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff if I become 
dissatisfied." 42 

General Eisenhower's assurances, which 
might have been essential had the im- 
passe in Normandy continued, were 
proved to be unnecessary by the turn of 



events. As his words were written, the 
Allied forces were on the move — toward 
Falaise in the east and toward Brittany in 
the west. The frustrations and irritations, 
born of inaction and stalemate, which had 
stirred the Allied press to criticism, were 
to evaporate, at least for a time, as the 
Allied forces burst through the German 
lines and swept toward Paris. 

42 Eisenhower to Surles, FWD 12498, 30 Jul 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 



CHAPTER XI 



The Breakout and Pursuit 
to the Seine 



Beginning on 25 July, General Eisen- 
hower' s forces unleashed a heavy air and 
ground attack west of St. L6 and smashed 
the enemy opposition blocking the Allied 
advance. In four weeks the battle of stale- 
mate in the bocage had changed to one of 
great mobility as the Allied forces searched 
out the enemy along the Loire and toward 
Brest, encircled and destroyed thousands 
of German troops in a great enveloping 
movement at Falaise, and dashed to the 
Seine to cut off the Germans and threaten 
Paris. All this was in accord with the 
broad outlines of earlier plans, but the 
speed with which the drives were executed 
and with which the enemy opposition col- 
lapsed west of the Seine followed from the 
unexpected opportunities which Allied 
com manders h ad turned to their advan- 
tage. (Map II) 



The Allied Situation in Late July 

On 18 July as the British opened an of- 
fensive south of Caen, the U.S. forces 
ended their fight for St. L6 which had 
been carried on sporadically since June. 
The battle had been unusually bitter, 
costing elements of five U.S. divisions 
nearly 1 l,OOOcasualties in two weeks. In 
gaining St. L6 the First U.S. Army opened 
an important road center to the south and 



east from the Omaha and Utah beaches 
and provided maneuver area for a drive to 
the south then being planned. 1 To theeast, 
the British were poised for further ad- 
vances in the direction of Falaise. 

Despite these victories, the Allied gains 
still did not appear impressive when meas- 
ured on a map of France. After nearly 
seven weeks of fighting, the deepest pene- 
trations were some twenty-five to thirty 
miles deep on an eighty-mile front. The 
British and Canadians had suffered some 
49,000 casualties, and the U.S. forces some 
73,000. These losses had been almost com- 
pletely replaced before the attack, and at 
the time of the breakout units were prac- 
tically up to strength. At that time the 
British and Canadians had an equivalent 
of sixteen and the U.S. forces seventeen 
divisions in the field. By 23 July, a cumu- 
lative total of 591,000 British and Cana- 
dian and 770,000 U.S. troops had been 
landed in Normandy. 2 The U.S. forces 
had, in addition to the two airborne divi- 

1 [2d Lt. David Garth] St. Ld AMERICAN 
FORCES IN ACTION (Washington, 1947). 

2 Cumulative strength includes only the number 
landed and does not reflect evacuated wounded, 
dead, cr those units taken back to the United King- 
dom for refitting. Statistics for British and U.S. cas- 
ualties and strength were seldom reported for the 
same time of the day and often not on the same day. 
In the present case 22 July at 2400 is taken for U.S. 
casualties (SHAEF G-3 Summary 51, 27 Jul44) and 



THE BREAKOUT AND PURSUIT TO THE SEINE 



193 



sions then being re-equipped after their 
work in the assault, three divisions in the 
process of moving from the United King- 
dom to the Continent, two more ready to 
move from the United Kingdom, and 
other divisions in the Mediterranean and 
the United States ready to move at the 
rate of three to five a month. 3 

The supply situation was for the most 
part favorable. Allied naval and air forces 
had virtually eliminated any threat to 
shipping in the Channel. Landing of cargo 
over the beaches continued to increase, 
and on 19 July the first supplies were 
brought in through Cherbourg. The am- 
munition shortage, which had been ap- 
parent in the first days of the invasion, 
had not been solved but had been im- 
proved. Supply detachments were being 
strengthened to handle augmented de- 
mands, although they were cramped for 
space as a result of the restricted area held 
by the Allied forces. 

Notwithstanding the favorable situa- 
tion, the Allies had not forgotten the gale 
of mid- June and the fact that the bulk of 
their supplies and personnel still had to 
come over open beaches which were at the 
mercy of Channel storms. The opening of 
both the Brittany and the Seine ports was 
necessary, the Allies believed, if they were 
to be sure of their logistical support during 
the fall and winter months. Their previous 
experience in rehabilitating ports de- 
stroyed by retreating Germans demon- 

23 July at 0600 is taken for British casualties (SHAEF 
G-3 Summary 30, 26 Jul 44). The nearest date to 
these on which both British and U.S. cumulative 
strengths are listed is 21 July (SHAEF G-3 Summary 
47, 23 Jul 44). Statistics for 1 August 1944 show a 
greater disproportion both of strength and casual- 
ties. Cumulative strength for that date shows 934,000 
U.S. and 682,000 British and Canadian, with casual- 
ties of 86,000 U.S. as opposed to approximately 
56,000 British and Canadian (SHAEF G-3 Summary 
5 8,3 Aug 44). 



strated the necessity of capturing the ports 
within a few weeks if they were to be put 
back in working order before bad weather 
closed in. Early planning after the inva- 
sion, therefore, emphasized operations to 
seize Brest, Le Havre, Quiberon Bay, 
Morlaix, and other French ports. While 
General Eisenhower looked toward the 
German border and beyond to the Rhine 
and to Berlin, he was interested imme- 
diately in the vital French ports. 

The German Situation 

The difficulties under which the enemy 
labored before D Day became greater as 
the battle in Normandy continued. The 
old problems of divided authority, low 
state of troops in France, lack of mobility 
and armament, and almost total absence 
of air support still remained. Allied naval 
fire power had been unexpectedly heavy 
in the beachhead during the early days of 
the invasion. Allied air superiority made 
movements of German reinforcements 
and supplies almost impossible while per- 
mitting the Allied forces to land their 
materiel and move it forward with im- 
punity. Hitler's continual interference in 
tactical decisions caused confusion among 
the field commanders. Misjudging Allied 
intentions, the Fuehrer and OKW held 
the main forces of Fifteenth Army in the 
Pas-de-Calais until nearly the end ofjuly. 
Throughout all of June and two thirds of 
July the enemy assumed that a second 
landing would be made north of the Seine, 
and it was not until the 19th that the first 
armored division was released from 

3 Twenty U.S. divisions were actually on the Con- 
tinent by the time the drive for the Seine began. The 
Polish Armored Division and the 4th Canadian Ar- 
mored Division were committed by 5 August. Three 
additional U.S. divisions came in as part of the inva- 
sion forces in southern France in mid-August. 



194 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Fifteenth Army for the Normandy front. 

Widespread differences existed between 
OB WEST and OKW as to the nature of 
the battle to be waged in Normandy. 
The Germans had been forced into a de- 
fensive battle, their reserves were being 
committed piecemeal, and lack of replace- 
ments brought a thinning of the front 
which, without speedy reinforcement, 
meant the German line must ultimately 
collapse. Hitler's orders to stand and fight 
required units to be kept in untenable 
positions until there was no chance for 
them to withdraw without heavy losses. 
Von Rundstedt and Rommel discussed the 
situation with Hitler at the end of June, 
and on 1 July Rundstedt proposed that 
the Germans abandon the Caen bridge- 
head and establish a defense line running 
roughly from Caen to Caumont. Jodl, 
chief of the operations staff of OKW, op- 
posed this move on the ground that it fore- 
shadowed a German evacuation of 
France. When Hitler backed Jodl, Rund- 
stedt replied that, unless his line was 
shortened in a few days, several of his 
armored divisions would soon be too 
battle weary for further action. Rundstedt 
was replaced a short time later as Com- 
mander in Chief West by Generalfeldmar- 
schall Guenther von Kluge. Geyr von 
Schweppenburg, commander of Panzer 
Group West and a supporter of Rundstedt's 
views, was replaced by General der Pan- 
zertruppen Heinrich Eberbach.* 

On 20 July an unsuccessful attempt on 
Hitler's life uncovered evidence of a con- 
spiracy in which a number of generals and 
members of the General Staff were impli- 
cated. This effort, intended to open the 
way to a negotiated peace which would 
save Germany from total defeat, proved to 
be premature. Some of the bolder officers 
were court-martialed and executed and 



others were removed from posts of respon- 
sibility. Reichsfuehrer SS Heinrich 
Himmler's power over internal security 
was increased. Commanders who recom- 
mended evacuation of territory or who 
spoke of possible defeat were often looked 
upon with suspicion. 

Among the commanders suspected of 
complicity in the plot was Field Marshal 
Rommel, although he had been incapable 
of participating in the attempted assassi- 
nation because of injuries he had received 
on 17 July when an Allied plane strafed 
the staff car in which he was riding in 
Normandy. Suffering from an injured'eye, 
a fractured skull, and a brain concussion, 
he was out of combat throughout the sum- 
mer and early fall of 1944. He died in the 
middle of October from poison which he 
took in preference to standing trial. His 
reward was a state funeral ordered by the 
Fuehrer. 5 Rommel's command of Army 
Group B was assumed in mid-July by von 
Kluge in addition to his other duties. 

Enemy losses for the period 6 June-23 
July were approximately the same as those 
suffered by the Allies. German sources 
estimated casualties for that period at 
116,863. While the Allies had replaced 
nearly all their losses by the end of July, 
enemy reinforcements numbered only 
some 10,000. The effect appeared in the 
number of understrength divisions which 



* Panzer Group West was assigned to Seventh Army on 
7 June 1944. On lOJune 1944 the headquarters of 
Panzer Group West was bombed out and the remnants 
were subordinated directly to OB WEST for rehabili- 
tation. On 28 June 1944 Panzer Group West was 
assigned to Army Group B and took command of the 
Seine-Drome sector. 

5 Official Notes by Martin Bormann Reference to 
Field Marshal Rommel, 28 Sep 44; Statement on 
Rommel's death by Heinrich Doose (who drove the 
car in which Rommel died), 30 May 45. Both in Offi- 
cer's Personnel Files, OKH / Heeres-Personalamt , Per- 
sonalakten. 



THE BREAKOUT AND PURSUIT TO THE SEINE 



195 



the enemy had for use against the Allies. 
On the 25th, the Seventh Army had at most 
thirteen weak divisions to oppose fifteen 
full-strength U.S. divisions. Panzer Group 
West, facing a British equivalent strength 
of seventeen divisions, had nominally nine 
infantry divisions and six or seven panzer 
divisions, of which two or three infantry 
divisions and one panzer division were 
only then in the process of being trans- 




FIELD MARSHAL ROMMEL 

ferred to that front. It was assumed that 
an additional thirteen or fourteen divi- 
sions could be brought into the battle area. 
Of these, two had been rehabilitated in 
southern France, two divisions were being 
sent to Normandy from other theaters, five 
divisions were due to arrive by mid-Aug- 
ust from northern France and Belgium, 




FIELD MARSHAL VON KLUGE 

and five additional units could be raised 
by stripping the coasts of the Netherlands, 
Belgium, and northern France. 6 

Despite obvious weakness, the enemy's 
position was not hopeless, as his stout re- 
sistance to Allied action demonstrated. 
The hedgerows of Normandy were favor- 
able to the defender, and the Germans, 



3 OB WEST, KTB 1.-3 l.VII.44,24 Jul 44; SHAEF 
G-3 Daily Summary, 25 Jul 44; Situation map 
(1 :200,000) of the WFSt Operations Abteilung (H) (re- 
ferred to hereafter as WFSt/Op. [H]), dated 26Jul 
44, showing situation on 25 Jul 44; 12th A Gp situ- 
ation map for 25 Jul 44; 12th A Gp Final Rpt G-2, 
Vol. 3, Annex B; MS # B-722,The Situation, 24 
July 1944 (Gersdorff). The last-named document is 
the first of a series of reports, MSS # B-722to 729, 
The Campaign in Northern France 25 Jul44-14 Sep 
44, written in part by von Gersdorff, chief of staff of 
Seventh Army in Normandy, and in part by field 
commanders participating in that campaign. 



196 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



expert at digging in, still made good use of 
the terrain to compensate for their in- 
feriority in manpower and materiel. Also 
in their favor was the fact that the Allies 
still lacked room in which they could 
maneuver and bring the full force of their 
mobile units to bear. As long as they could 
be kept locked in the Cotentin peninsula 
and hemmed in at the Orne, there was a 
hope that Normandy could be held. 

Plans for the Breakout 

As early as 1942, planners of the Com- 
bined Commanders in London had visu- 
alized a landing in the Caen area and a 
swing southward into Brittany and then 
eastward to Paris. The COSSAC planners 
in their outline plan of 1943 had done the 
same. Both terrain features and military 
considerations favored such a campaign. 
An attack due south from St. L6 toward 
the Loire and a turning movement to the 
east at the base of the Cotentin peninsula 
would have several advantages. Such an 
attack would cut off the Brittany penin- 
sula, give the formations advancing on 
Paris a secure right flank on the Loire, and 
permit the Allies to force the enemy back 
against the Seine. The enemy would be 
compelled to withdraw through hilly 
country lying between the British forces in 
the north and the U.S. forces in the south 
instead of using the better escape route 
lying through the Orleans Gap — a level 
area located roughly between Chartres 
and Orleans. A retreat southward through 
this area would give the Germans an op- 
portunity to join up with their forces in 
southern France or to gain contact with 
units in Alsace. This could be forestalled 
by the Allies with an armored thrust that 
would put them in a position to outflank 
such a movement and force the enemy 



into a narrow area north of Paris. Mean- 
while, it was possible that the swing to the 
south would cut off enemy units in the 
Brittany peninsula from those in the rest 
of northern France and permit them to be 
defeated in detail. The Allies hoped that 
the opening of the Brittany ports would 
follow rapidly. 

Less than two weeks after the invasion 
of Normandy, as the Allied forces strained 
to edge forward a few hundred yards each 
day, 2 1 Army Group planners outlined a 
plan for exploiting a deterioration in the 
German capacity to resist. They forecast a 
much more rapid sweep to the east than 
SHAEF planners had envisaged in their 
pre-D-Day plans which were based on the 
assumptions that the enemy would resist 
to the Seine and that the Brittany ports 
would be captured and furnishing some 
supplies for the U.S. forces before any 
major drive began to the east. This orig- 
inal concept of a deliberate advance to the 
Seine, followed by a three-week build-up, 
was abandoned by the 21 Army Group 
planners in favor of a British crossing of 
the Seine with the mission of enveloping 
Paris on the north, while the First U.S. 
Army followed through the Orleans Gap 
and south of Paris as fast as maintenance 
would permit. It was hoped that a pause 
to regroup would not be necessary until 
the forces were east of the Seine. 7 



7 Development of Operations From the Bridgehead 
to Secure Lodgment Area and Advance Beyond, 21 A 
Gp plans. Opn Lucky Strike, examination by plan- 
ning staff, 20 Jun 44, and app., 21 A Gp, Apprecia- 
tion of Possible Development of Operation Lucky 
Strike, 18 Jun 44; 21 A Gp, Opn Lucky Strike, 
Appreciation of Possible Development of Operations 
From the Bridgehead, 27 Jun 44. All in SHAEF 
AEAF 928. SHAEF planners paper, Posi-Neptune 
Courses of Action After Capture of the Lodgment 
Area, Sec. II, 30 May 44, and G-3's covering letter, 
31 May 44, SHAEF SGS 381 Post-OvERLORD Plan- 
ning, I. 



THE BREAKOUT AND PURSUIT TO THE SEINE 



197 



Seeing no chance of any sudden deteri- 
oration of the German capacity to resist, 
SHAEF Planning Staff members reacted 
unfavorably to several features of the 21 
Army Group plan. They believed that the 
early capture of Seine ports would not 
compensate for the lack of ports in Brit- 
tany, and took the position that the pro- 
posed plan would be acceptable only if it 
did not greatly delay the capture of the 
latter ports. Without a greater build-up of 
U.S. supplies, they saw no chance of sup- 
porting any but the smallest U.S. force 
east of the Seine or south and southeast of 
Paris. They believed, therefore, that the 
proposed pursuit must be limited in 
scope, 8 suggesting that it might be possible 
for British and Canadian forces to cross 
the Seine, while U.S. units guarded the 21 
Army Group right flank west of the river. 9 

Before the Allies could rush their forces 
to the Seine, they first had to break out of 
the confines of the bocage country. It was to 
this problem that General Eisenhower and 
his commanders turned their attention in 
the early days of July. The direction of 
such an attack had been discussed even 
earlier. A broad plan indicating that the 
main offensive was to be on the U.S. front 
and would consist of a turning movement 
at the base of the Cotentin peninsula had 
been made by 21 Army Group before D 
Day and approved by General Eisen- 
hower. At the end of June General Mont- 
gomery had directed First Army to swing 
southward and eastward to the general 
line Caumont-Vire-Mortain-Fougeres, to 
send one corps westward into Brittany, 
and to plan for a wide sweep eastward to- 
ward the objectives Laval-Mayenne and 
Le Mans-Alengon. 10 Eisenhower, Mont- 
gomery, and Bradley had discussed future 
plans on 1 July. By 10 July, General Brad- 
ley and his First Army staff had drawn up 



Operation Cobra, designed as a limited 
attack for the purpose of penetrating "the 
enemy's defenses west of St. L6 by VII 
Corps and exploiting this penetration with 
a strong armored and motorized thrust 
deep into the enemy's rear towards Cou- 
tances " 11 Montgomery approved the 
plan shortly after the middle of the month, 
and the field commanders then took up 
with Tedder, Leigh- Mallory, Spaatz, and 
other tactical and strategic air command- 
ers the co-ordination of the air efforts for 
the attack. 



8 SHAEF Operations Lucky Strike, Beneficiary, 
and Hands Up, examination by Planning Staff, 29 
Jun 44; SHAEF Operation Lucky Strike, Benefici- 
ary, and Hands Up, examination by Planning Staff, 
3 Jul 44. Both in SHAEF AEAF 928. The initial 21 
Army Group draft, recognizing the difficulties that 
might face U.S. forces inasmuch as they might have 
to move 1 50 miles in ten to fifteen days, had indicated 
the possibility of stopping the advance on the line 
Cabourg-Sees to re-form U.S. forces and construct 
airfields. 

9 The air members of the SHAEF Planning Staff 
held that the group was too cautious and unimagina- 
tive in giving this unfavorable report. Memo by Gp 
Capt Peter Broad, 28 Jun 44; SHAEF Operation 
Lucky Strike, Beneficiary, and Hands Up, exami- 
nation by Planning Staff, 3 Jul 44. Both in SHAEF 
AEAF 928. 

10 Montgomery dir to army comdrs, M-505, 30 Jun 
44, FUSA files L-348 21 A Gp dirs. 

11 Operation Cobra, 13 Jul 44, FUSA files L-348 
(18 B); Bradley, A Soldier' s Siory , pp. 316-32. The 
Cobra operation is frequently misnamed the St. L6 
operation apparently because the attack on that city 
was so recently in the news and possibly because the 
short name was helpful to headline writers. Cobra is 
also used incorrectly to refer to the entire breakout 
and pursuit period. Lucky Strike, the name for the 
earlier 2 1 Army Group plan to exploit a deterioration 
in the German will to resist, is also incorrectly used to 
refer to the breakout and pursuit period. No single 
code name covers the entire operation from 25 July to 
25 August. Cobra is properly applicable only to the 
period 25 July- 1 August 1944. The British attack 
made at the same time was called Goodwood and 
that of the Canadians Spring. Later British and 
Canadian attacks were known as Totalize and 
Tractable. 



198 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



At this crucial period between stale- 
mate and breakout, the Allied command 
arrangement of D Day was still in effect. 
General Eisenhower made frequent visits 
by plane to his field commanders while 
maintaining his forward command post at 
Portsmouth and his main headquarters at 
Widewing. Often he was called on to do 
little more than to give a nod of approval 
to the plans made by the field com- 
manders. He and his staff influenced the 
operations in this period by phasing 
forward additional units, by speeding up 
deliveries of ammunition and equipment, 
and by co-ordinating the Allied air effort. 
In some cases, General Eisenhower, by 
virtue of his control of U.S. forces as 
theater commander, dealt more directly 
with General Bradley than with General 
Montgomery. 

Actual control of all ground operations 
was still in the hands of General Mont- 
gomery. He, in turn, allowed General 
Bradley considerable freedom relative to 
plans for First Army. General Bradley has 
said of this relationship: 

He [Montgomery] exercised his Allied 
authority with wisdom, forbearance, and 
restraint. While coordinating our movements 
with those of Dempsey's, Monty carefully 
avoided getting mixed up in U. S. command 
decisions, but instead granted us the latitude 
to operate as freely and as independently as 
we chose. At no time did he probe into First 
Army with the indulgent manner he some- 
times displayed among those subordinates 
who were also his countrymen. I could not 
have wanted a more tolerant or judicious 
commander. Not once did he confront us 
with an arbitrary directive and not once did 
he reject any plan that we had devised. 12 

General Montgomery's attacks for Caen 
were to gain additional maneuver room 
and to aid the U.S. drive toward the 
south. His offensive of 18 July was de- 
signed to draw enemy forces from General 



Bradley's front west of St. L6, so that U.S. 
forces could get into position for a large- 
scale advance. When General Bradley's 
attack, initially set for 18 July, was post- 
poned because of bad weather, General 
Montgomery set the 24th for the second 
try and restated his over-all plans for the 
breakout. The First Army was to cut off 
the enemy in the Periers-Lessay area in 
the southern Cotentin; the Third Army 
was then to swing south and east on the 
western flank into Brittany. Meanwhile, 
the Second British Army, fighting hard on 
the eastern flank, was to keep the enemy 
pinned down in the Caen sector and 
maintain a continuous threat of an ad- 
vance toward Falaise and Argentan. Not 
sure of what might happen, General 
Montgomery said he "intended to 'crack 
about' and try to bring about a major 
withdrawal in front of Brad." 13 

To encourage General Bradley in "the 
largest ground assault yet staged in this 
war by American troops exclusively," 
General Eisenhower sent the First Army 
commander a message accepting full per- 
sonal responsibility for the "necessary 
price of victory." Pointing out that the 
British forces were to carry on a vigorous 
attack, the Supreme Commander said 
that this aid would enable Bradley "to 
push every advantage with an ardor 
verging on recklessness." General Eisen- 
hower looked ahead to the possible results 
which might be attained and prophesied 
that, if the Second Army should break 
through simultaneously with the U.S. 
forces, the results would be "incalcu- 
lable." 14 



12 Bradley, A Soldier's Story, pp. 319-20. 

13 Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-514, 24 Jul 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 

" Eisenhower to Montgomery for Bradley, FWD- 
12438, 24 Jul 44, Eisenhower personal file. 



THE BREAKOUT AND PURSUIT TO THE SEINE 



199 



The COBRA Operation 

General Bradley's operation got off to a 
false start on 24 July. The attack was post- 
poned because of bad weather after some 
of the heavy bombers had actually started 
their preparation in the break-through 
area. On the following day, better weather 
made possible the launching of the satura- 
tion bombing plan worked out by IX 
Tactical Air Command (Maj. Gen. Elwood 
R. Quesada) and First Army. At 0940 ap- 
proximately 350 fighter bombers made a 
twenty-minute attack on a 250-yard strip 
along the Periers-St. L6 road, west of 
St. L6. This action was followed by an 
hour's bombing of an area 2,500 by 6,000 
yards in which 1,887 heavy and medium 
bombers and 559 fighter bombers of the 
Eighth and Ninth Air Forces dropped 
more than 4,000 tons of explosives. The 
ground forces, despite casualties suffered 
by forward elements from bombs that fell 
short, moved forward at 1100. It was 
found that the air attack had stunned the 
enemy, destroying his communications 
and rendering many of his weapons in- 
effective. The VII Corps commander, 
Maj. Gen. J. Lawton Collins later con- 
cluded that "the bombing was the decisive 
factor in the initial success of the break- 
through." One tragic feature of the air as- 
sault was the death of General McNair, 
who had gone forward to view the attack 
and was struck by one of the U.S. bombs 
which fell short. To replace General 
McNair as head of the fictitious 1st U.S. 
Army Group, the War Department sent 
Lt. Gen. John L DeWitt, former com- 
mander of the Western Defense Com- 
mand. 16 

The VII Corps followed the bombing 
with armored and infantry attacks. In the 
next three days its two armored and four 



infantry divisions overran enemy positions. 
At the same time, General Bradley's other 
three corps were making steady advances. 
News of the initial successes was slow in 
reaching General Eisenhower, but he 
maintained that the men were fighting for 
all their worth and that the enemy would 
soon crack under the pressure. Impressed 
by the reported effects of bombing on 
enemy morale, he felt that a concerted in- 
tensive drive could break through the 
whole defense system of the enemy on a 
selected front, and that the Allies were 
going "to get a great victory, very soon." 18 
The Cobra operation was completed in 
its basic details on 28 July with the First 

15 Unpublished draft account of VII Corps actions 
in Hq ETOUSA Hist Sec narrative on Opn Cobra; 
Eighth Air Force, Special Report on Operations, 24- 
25 Jul 44, dtd 1 1 Sep 44; USSTAF, Report of Investi- 
gation, 14 Aug 44; 1 2th A Gp, Effect of Air Power on 
Military Operations. All in OCMH files. Craven and 
Gate, The Army Air Forces in World War II, III, 231-43. 
Statistics on the number of airplanes and tons of 
bombs dropped vary in different accounts. The au- 
thor has used those given in the Craven and Gate 
volume, p. 232. 

The bombing at St. L6, although heavy, was actu- 
ally only the third largest in Normandy in number of 
tons dropped according to the report of Air Chief 
Marshal Leigh-Mallory, The largest was that at Caen 
on 18 July when 1,676 heavies and 343 mediums 
dropped 7,700 tons. The second largest was in support 
of the Canadian Army along the Caen-Falaise road 
on the night of 7-8 August and the succeeding day. 
More than 5,200 tons of bombs were dropped by 
1,450 bombers of the Eighth Air Force and Bomber 
Command. There were three other important prepa- 
rations in Normandy: in support of British at Caen, 
8 July — 2,662 tons by 467 bombers of Bomber Com- 
mand; in support of British south of Caumont, 30 
July — 2,227 tons by 693 heavies of Bomber Command 
and over 500 light and medium bombers of AEAF; in 
support of Canadians near Falaise, 14 August — 3,723 
tons by 8 1 1 bombers of Bomber Command. FUSA 
Rpt of Opns, 20 Oct 43-1 Aug 44, Bk. I; Air Chief 
Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory, Despatch to the 
Supreme Commander, AEF, November 1944, Sup- 
plement to The London Gazette, December 31, 1946, pp. 
64-65. 

16 Eisenhower to Montgomery, 26 Jul 44, Eisen- 
hower personal file. 



200 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Army's capture of Coutanccs. The four 
U.S. corps were then ordered to press their 
attack southward General Bradley re- 
ported that he and his men were feeling 
"pretty cocky" and refused to have their 
enthusiasm dampened by reports that the 
enemy was sending reinforcements. "I 
can assure you," he told General Eisen- 
hower, "that we are taking every calcu- 
lated risk and we believe we have the 
Germans out of the ditches and in com- 
plete demoralization and expect to take 
full advantage of them." He paid special 
tribute for his success to the tactical air 
forces, pointing to the close liaison be- 
tween planes and tank formations and the 
"picnic" the air forces had enjoyed in 
dealing with enemy daylight movements. 
"I cannot say too much." he added, "for 
the fine cooperation Quesada and his 
command have given us in the last few 
days." 17 

The enemy commanders in their own 
way paid tribute to the effectiveness of air- 
ground co-operation. They complained 
that low-flying planes subjected traffic to 
long delays or stopped it entirely, with the 
result that reinforcements could not be 
brought up readily. Composite experi- 
ences of German commanders were de- 
scribed after the war in the following 
statement: 

Covered by their air force, the [Allied] 
troops who had penetrated into the line 
affected the rear of the German units to such 
an extent that the unity of the defense de- 
teriorated and the battle finally turned into 
separate fights for hills, localities, and indi- 
vidual farms. The command was almost en- 
tirely dependent on radio-communication, 
since all wire-lines had been destroyed and 
messengers were shot in the enemy-saturated 
terrain. The separate units fought — on their 
own — as small combat teams, and had 
hardly any contact with neighboring troops. 18 



While the U.S. forces advanced in the 
west, General Montgomery moved his 
British and Canadian forces forward on 
the eastern flank. Early on 25 July, before 
the heavy bombardment west of St. L6, 
Canadian forces had started southward 
toward Falaise. In a day of desperate 
fighting, troops of Lt. Gen. G. G. Simonds' 
2d Canadian Corps struck at an area 
heavily held by enemy armor. They suf- 
fered more than 1 ,000 casualties in an at- 
tack that took little territory but helped to 
conceal the direction of the main offensive 
and to delay the enemy's shift of reserves 
to the U.S. front. 19 General Montgomery 
now directed the Second British Army to 
strike in the Caumont area and ordered 
all British and Canadian forces to attack 
to the greatest degree possible with the 
resources available. He declared that the 
enemy "must be worried, and shot up, 
and attacked, and raided, whenever and 
wherever possible; the object of such ac- 
tivity will be to improve our own posi- 
tions, to gain ground, to keep the enemy 
from transferring forces across to the 
western flank to oppose the American 
advance, and generally to 'Write off Ger- 
man personnel and equipment." 20 

Shortly before this directive was issued, 
the First Canadian Army had become ac- 
tive on the Continent. Its commander, 
General Crerar, had been in Normandy 
since mid-June, but because maneuver 
space for another army was lacking his 
headquarters did not become operational 



" Bradley to Eisenhower, 28 Jul 44, Eisenhower 
personal file. See also Craven and Gate, The Army Air 
Forces in World War II, III, 235-43, 

18 MS # B-723, The American Breakthrough in 
the Direction of Avranches (Gersdorff). 

"> Stacey, The Canadian Army, pp. 190-94. 

20 Montgomery to army comdrs, M-515, 27 Jul 44, 
12 A Gp 371,3 Military Objectives, I; Montgomery, 
Normandy to the Baltic, pp. 1 39-4 1 . 



THE BREAKOUT AND PURSUIT TO THE SEINE 



201 



until 23 July. On that date he took over 
1 British Corps and the extreme eastern 
sector of the Allied front; on 31 July 2d 
Canadian Corps came under his com- 
mand. The Canadian Army now held the 
front south of Caen. 21 

As the U.S. attack gained momentum, 
General Eisenhower pressed General 
Montgomery to speed up his advance in 
the Caumont area. "Never was time more 
vital to us, and we should not wait on 
weather or on perfection of detail of prep- 
aration." In the same spirit of urgency, 
General Montgomery ordered General 
Dempsey to throw all caution overboard, 
to take risks, "to accept any casualties and 
to step on the gas for Vire." 22 

On 28 July, Generals Montgomery, 
Bradley, and Dempsey discussed plans 
for the "complete dislocation" of the 
enemy, and General Montgomery in- 
formed the Supreme Commander of the 
prospects for a great victory. 23 Highly 
pleased, Eisenhower replied: "From all 
reports your plan continues to develop 
beautifully. I learn you have a column in 
Avranches. This is great news and Brad- 
ley must quickly make our position there 
impregnable. . . . With Canadian Army 
fighting intensively to prevent enemy 
movement away from the Caen area 
Dempsey's attack coupled with Bradley's 
will clean up the area west of Orne once 
and for all. Good luck." 24 

Hitler Outlines His Plan 

Severely shaken by the bombardments 
of 25 July and hard hit by the advancing 
ground forces, Field Marshal von Kluge 
on 27 July obtained OKW's permission to 
transfer a panzer corps from the British 
front to the western side of the line. 25 On 
the same day, he also requested the trans- 



fer to the combat area of two divisions 
from the Pas-de-Calais, a third from the 
Atlantic coast of France, and a fourth 
from southern France. In support of his 
request for shifting forces from the Pas-de- 
Calais, OB WEST reported that there was 
a possibility that an alleged newly or- 
ganized 12th Army Group containing the 
Third U.S. Army and three corps was 
shortly to be sent to Normandy, and that 
it seemed probable that no second landing 
would be made. Hitler approved the re- 
lease of units from the Pas-de-Calais and 
the Atlantic coast, but refused to weaken 
the defenses of southern France.' At the 
end of the month, OB WEST again pressed 
OKW to strip all quiet sectors in order to 
prevent an Allied breakout. 26 

On 31 July, Hitler held a particularly 
significant conference in his East Prussian 
headquarters with Jodl and other military 
advisers. In the course of the meeting he 
revealed his deep distrust of the high-level 
commanders of the Army, his reasons for 
pressing the battle in the west, and the 
plan of campaign he had for the coming 
months. Hitler's bitter reactions to the at- 
tempt on his life of 20 July bared the gulf 
between him and the Regular Army com- 
manders. He described it as the symptom 
of blood poisoning which permeated the 
highest command. Condemning many of 

21 Stacey, The Canadian Army, p. 194. 

22 Eisenhower to Montgomery, 28 Jul 44; Mont- 
gomery to Eisenhower, M-68, 28 Jul 44. Both in 
Eisenhower personal file. 

23 Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-70, 29 Jul 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 

24 Eisenhower to Montgomery, SHAEF FWD 
12505, 31 Jul 44, Eisenhower personal file. 

25 MS # B-723 (Gersdorff). 

26 OKW/WFSt, KTB Ausarbeitung, der Westen I.W.- 
16.XII.44 (referred to hereafter as Der Westen [Maj. 
Percy Schramm]); OB WEST, KTB 1.-31 .VII.44, 25, 
26, 27, 31 Jul 44; Panzer-Armeeoberkommando 5 (referred 
to hereafter as Fifth Panzer Army), KTB 10. VI.- 
8.VIII.44, 26, 2 7 Jul 44. 



202 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



the field marshals and generals as "de- 
stroyers" and traitors, he asked how he 
could keep up morale among ordinary sol- 
diers when once-trusted leaders dealt with 
the enemy. He declared that the signal and 
supply systems were filled with traitors and 
insisted that he could not inform his field 
commanders in the west of the broad stra- 
tegic plans of the Reich, since they would 
be known to the Allied powers almost as 
soon as the details reached Paris. He de- 
cided, therefore, to tell von Kluge only 
enough of future plans for the Com- 
mander in Chief West to carry on immedi- 
ate operations. Concluding that the im- 
minent development in the west would 
decide Germany's destiny, and that von 
Kluge could not assume such an immense 
responsibility, Hitler ordered a small 
operations headquarters established which 
could serve him later when he expected 
to go to Alsace-Lorraine or western Ger- 
many to assume the direction of opera- 
tions in the west. 27 

Throughout the talk, which was little 
more than a monologue, the Fuehrer 
stressed the problem of leadership, de- 
manding that in the future his com- 
manders be picked on the basis of loyalty 
and willingness to fight rather than in ac- 
cordance with seniority. He asked that 
brave men, regardless of rank, be selected 
to hold the Channel and Atlantic ports 
and not "big mouths" like the commander 
at Cherbourg who had issued bold decla- 
rations and then had surrendered at the 
first Allied blow. He caustically con- 
demned commanders, particularly those 
of noble birth, who felt they would do well 
by surrendering to the Allies. He paid 
tribute to Marshal Tito, saying that here 
was a man without military background 
who deserved the title of marshal because 
he had the will to fight. 

Hitler's strategy of holding tenaciously 



to ports and ground in the west, a policy 
much attacked after the war by his com- 
manders, can be better understood in the 
light of the arguments he advanced to 
Jodl. He insisted that Germany's problem 
was a moral and not a material one. So far 
as the Eastern Front was concerned, he be- 
lieved that Germany would be able, with 
some effort, to stabilize the existing grave 
situation. He lashed out at those who felt 
that it was possible to come to some sort 
of arrangement with the Reich's enemies, 
saying that this was not a struggle which 
would be settled by negotiation or some 
clever tactical maneuver, but father a 
Hunnish war in which one or the other 
of the antagonists had to perish. Speak- 
ing of his worries over the Balkans, Hitler 
made clear that continual losses might 
lead to defection by Hungary and Bul- 
garia or to a change in the attitude of the 
countries which were then neutral. A de- 
cisive action or a successful large-scale 
battle was essential to strengthen Ger- 
many's position. 

Hitler explained that he did not wish to 
keep his armies tied up in Italy, but he felt 
that a withdrawal would free Allied forces 
in that area for fighting elsewhere. He 
added that it was better to fight in another 
country than to bring the battle to the 
Reich. 

For France, the Fuehrer was quite spe- 
cific. He knew that he had to make long- 
range plans for a withdrawal, but insisted 
on keeping them secret. He repeated that 
he intended to withhold knowledge of his 
broad plans from the Commander in Chief 
West, but did agree that certain definite 
points would be outlined. His orders to 
von Kluge included the following: (1) if 

" Minutes of conference of 31 July 1944: Bespre- 
chung des Fuehrers mil Generaloberst Jodl am 31.7.1944 
in der Wolfsschanze (near Rastenburg, East Prussia); 
Der Westen (Schramm). 



THE BREAKOUT AND PURSUIT TO THE SEINE 



203 



German forces had to withdraw from the 
French coast, all major ports were to be 
held by garrisons under carefully picked 
commanders who would hold their posi- 
tions to the last; (2) all railroad equipment 
and installations and all bridges were to 
be destroyed in territory that was aban- 
doned; (3) the Commander in Chief West 
was to provide certain specific units with 
organic means of transportation and with 
mobile weapons; (4) no withdrawing from 
the line then occupied could be toler- 
ated — the ground had to be held with 
fanatical determination. It was better to 
stand than to withdraw, Hitler pointed 
out, since any retreat confronted the Ger- 
mans with the disadvantages of mobile 
warfare in an area where the Allies had air 
superiority. Further, the Germans lacked 
prepared positions to which they could 
pull back. Any surrender of ports in- 
creased the opportunities for the Allied 
forces to build up a crushing superiority in 
men and materiel. 

Despite his fear of a retreat that would 
give the Allies more room for maneuver, 
Hitler did issue orders for the construction 
of new defense positions along the Somme 
and the Marne. He indicated his dis- 
pleasure with previous efforts, saying that 
there was a tendency to build a "show 
place" in the fortifications and to display 
these to inspectors, while hiding the weak- 
ness of the defensive lines. Delays in con- 
structing positions, he maintained, were 
due to the demands of army groups to re- 
tain control of their rear areas. Now, he 
insisted that the work be done by the 
Organization Todt with the assistance of 
local labor. 

At the close of the conference a further 
meeting was held between Hitler, Jodl, 
and Jodl's deputy, General der Artillerie 
Walter Warlimont, who was to go to 
France to acquaint von Kluge with such 



parts of the new plans as it was thought 
proper for him to know. Warlimont vainly 
endeavored to obtain from Hitler or Jodl 
a clear statement of what he was to tell 
von Kluge. Under his persistent question- 
ing, he finally succeeded in obtaining from 
a thoroughly vexed Hitler an abrupt an- 
swer: "Tell Field Marshal von Kluge that 
he should keep his eyes riveted to the front 
and on the enemy without ever looking 
backward. If and when precautionary 
measures have to be taken in the rear of 
the theater of operations in the West, 
everything necessary will be done by 
OKW and OKW alone." 28 

Shortly after Warlimont 's departure, a 
special staff was formed to execute meas- 
ures which had been discussed at the con- 
ference, the military governor of France 
was charged with the responsibility for 
constructing the Somrrie-Marne position, 
and the commander of the Replacement 
Army was ordered to refit the West Wall. 

Eisenhower Prepares for Action 

Meanwhile, the command of U.S. forces 
was being reorganized in preparation for 
the next phase of their offensive. On 19 
July General Bradley stated that as soon 
as Operation Cobra was completed the 
U.S. forces on the Continent would num- 
ber eighteen divisions and would soon 
afterward be increased by three more. In 
accordance with a SHAEF memorandum 
of 1 June 1944, he recommended that they 
be organized into two armies and a U.S. 
army group be brought iri to command 
them. 29 General Montgomery, who was 
aware that such a change would be made 
when the U.S. build-up on the Continent 
required two American armies and that 

28 MS # C-099 a, OKW Activities—"^ Westen" 
(1 Apr-31 Dec 1944), Pt. II (Warlimont). 
28 See below, pp. 261-63. 



204 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



this would be followed in due course by 
General Eisenhower's assumption of per- 
sonal control of operations, agreed to the 
proposal. 

On 25 July, General Eisenhower di- 
rected that the U.S. ground forces on the 
Continent be regrouped into the First and 
Third Armies under the control of 12th 
Army Group which General Bradley was 
to command. The regrouping was to take 
place on a date set by Bradley, who was to 
give three days' prior notice to SHAEF 
and 21 Army Group. The new army 
group was to remain under the command 
of the commander in chief of the 2 1 Army 
Group until the Supreme Commander al- 
located a specific "area of responsibility" 
to the commanding general of the 12th 
Army Group. It was understood that Lt. 
Gen. Courtney H. Hodges, assistant com- 
mander of the First Army, was to succeed 
General Bradley in command of that 
army, and that General Patton, the Third 
Army commander, was to take over some 
of the divisions then on the Continent. To 
prepare them for their task, General Brad- 
ley on 28 July directed Hodges to keep 
touch with the three left corps, and told 
Patton to form the six divisions on First 
Army's right into two corps while they 
were on the move. The Third Army com- 
mander was instructed to keep track of 
these corps so that he would be familiar 
with the tactical situation when his army 
became operational. General Bradley set 
1 August as the date for the new arrange- 
ment to go into effect. For the next month 
General Montgomery retained over-all 
control of ground forces on the Continent, 
but channeled all orders to U.S. forces 
through the 12th Army Group. 30 

General Eisenhower, encouraged by 
the reports of late July to hope for a 
complete break-through, again reminded 



General Montgomery of the need for bold 
action by Allied armored and mobile col- 
umns against the enemy flanks. He indi- 
cated that supplies could be dropped by 
aircraft to such units in case of an emer- 
gency, and recalled that the tremendous 
assets in the Troop Carrier Command and 
in the mastery of the air should not be 
neglected. "I know," the Supreme Com- 
mander added, "that you will keep ham- 
mering as long as you have a single shot 
in the locker." 31 

In his optimism, General Eisenhower 
foresaw a chance for the Allies to win a 
tactical victory and create virtually an 
open flank. If this happened he proposed 
to send only a small part of his forces into 
Brittany while using the bulk of the Allied 
units to destroy the enemy west of the 
Rhine, and exploit as far to the east as 
possible. As an alternative, in case the 
enemy stripped the area south of Caen 
and tried to set up a line from Caen to 
Avranches south of Vire, Montgomery was 
to thrust forward in the lower Seine valley. 
Operation Swordhilt, a combined am- 
phibious-airborne operation to seize the 
area east of Brest, was also to be launched. 
The Supreme Commander did not believe 
that the enemy could interfere with his 
plans and predicted that if the Allies could 
have a period of ten days to two weeks of 
really good weather they could secure "a 
most significant success." 32 

The 21 Army Group commander, it 
will be recalled, had already ordered the 

30 Bradley to Montgomery, 19 Jul 44, and Mont- 
gomery's concurrence; Memo, Eisenhower for Brad- 
ley, 25 Jul 44, sub: Comd and Organization, U.S. 
Ground Forces, SHAEF G-3 322.01 1-1 Command 
and Control of U.S. /British Forces; Bradley to Eisen- 
hower, 28 Jul 44, Eisenhower personal file. 

31 Eisenhower to Montgomery, 2 Aug 44, SHAEF 
SGS 381 Post Overlord Planning, I (a). 

32 Eisenhower to Marshall, S-56667, 2 Aug 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 



THE BREAKOUT AND PURSUIT TO THE SEINE 



205 



British forces to continue their drive south- 
ward in an effort to keep enemy armor 
away from the west, while First Army 
forces turned southeastward toward Vire 
and Third Army began the task of clear- 
ing the enemy from Brittany. Now that 
the First Army had opened the corridor at 
the bottom of the Cotentin peninsula, the 
spotlight was to be shifted to the Third 
Army. Patton's forces were ordered to ad- 




GENERAL PATTON. (Photograph 
taken in 1945.) 



vance south from the vicinity of Avranches 
to Rennes, then to turn west and capture 
the Brittany peninsula and open the Brit- 
tany ports. 33 

So far as his reserves in Brittany were 
concerned the enemy was ill prepared to 
meet the armored onslaught being pre- 
pared by the Third Army. Piecemeal 




GENERAL HODGES 



commitment of enemy forces from Brit- 
tany during June and July had resulted in 
the serious weakening of the German po- 
sition there. French Resistance forces had 
harassed the enemy and interfered with 
his movements. On 1 August, German 
forces in Brittany amounted to fewer than 
ten battalions of German infantry, four 
Ost battalions, and some 50,000 naval and 
service troops. 34 These troops were scat- 
tered among the various ports and so dis- 
posed that miles of front were left entirely 



33 Montgomery dir to army comdrs, M-515, 27 Jul 
44, FUSA files L-345; FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 
44-22 Feb 45, Bk. I, p. 1; FO 1, 4 Aug 44 (confirma- 
tion of verbal orders issued 1 Aug 44), TUSA AAR, I. 

34 Ost battalions had been formed on the eastern 
front from anti-Bolshevik Russian peoples, frequently 
prisoners of war. They had been transferred to the 
west at the rate of two Ost battalions for one German 
battalion. 



206 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



open to the Third Army's advance. Gen- 
eral Patton explained this situation to his 
staff", although he jokingly warned them, 
not to let the newsmen know how weak 
the enemy was. 35 

Despite their weakness in Brittany, it 
was clear that the Germans could cause 
the Third Army some difficulty. Col. 
Oscar Koch, General Patton's chief of in- 
telligence, warned on 2 August that the 
reported movement of enemy armor west- 
ward created the possibility of a major 
counterattack to drive a wedge to the 
Channel between the northern and south- 
ern columns of the Third Army, rendering 
the southern columns logistically inopera- 
tive. General Patton's characteristic reac- 
tion was that, while his units might be cut 
off for a short time, he would not find it 
difficult to re-establish his position. 36 

General Montgomery by 30 July had 
pushed two corps forward from the Cau- 
mont front toward Vire and Mont Pinion, 
pinning down II SS Panzer Corps so that it 
was not available for an enemy counter- 
attack at Avranches. On 1 August the 
Third Army sent one corps due west into 
Brittany, but launched two others south- 
ward and southeastward, holding a fourth 
in reserve. By 4 August Rennes had fallen 
and armored spearheads had bypassed St. 
Malo and Dinan and were headed for 
Brest. First Army units at the same time 
swung toward Vire. These rapid drives 
were aided not only by the weakness of 
enemy opposition, particularly in Brit- 
tany, but by air cover furnished the ar- 
mored columns by the tactical air com- 
mands, whose scale of support increased 
daily. 37 

General Montgomery answered the 
Supreme Commander's request for con- 
tinued exploitation of the enemy's weak- 
ened position on 4 August by ordering 
General Crerar, whose forces held the 



eastern flank of the British line, to drive 
for Falaise not later than 8 August and 
cut off the withdrawal of German forces 
then facing General Dempsey west of 
Thury-Harcourt. Dempsey was to con- 
tinue his move south and east toward 
Argentan. Meanwhile, Montgomery 
noted, General Hodges was to maintain 
his swing eastward with his left flank on 
the Domfront-Alenqon axis. General Pat- 
ton's army, save for one corps needed to 
clear up Brittany, was to attack due east 
from Rennes toward Laval and Angers. 
The British commander, saying that the 
Allied forces had "unloosed the shackles 
that were holding us down and have 
knocked away the 'key rivets,' " swung the 
Allied right flank toward Paris with the 
intention of forcing the enemy back 
against the Seine, whose bridges had been 
destroyed between Paris and the sea. 
Minor counterthrusts that von Kluge had 
been making at the base of the Cotentin 
were discounted, since his delaying actions 
seemed likely to provide an opportunity 
for the Allies to swing around quickly and 
cut off the German routes of escape. 38 

The Moriain Counterattack 

The Germans, meanwhile, were plan- 
ning a counterthrust by the Seventh Army 
to pierce the U.S. line between Mortain 

35 Entry in diary of historical officer with the Third 
Array, OCMH files; G-2 Periodic Rpt, 2 Aug 44, 
TUSA AAR, II. 

36 G-2 Periodic Rpt, 2 Aug 44, TUSA AAR, II; 
entry in diary of historical officer with Third Army, 
2 Aug 44, OCMH files. 

37 TUSA Rpt of Opns, I; FUSA Rpt of Opns, 1 
Aug 44-22 Feb 45, Bk. I, p. 4; MS # B-725, The 
German Counterattack Against Avranches (Gers- 
dorff); Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces in World 
War II, III, 243-53. 

38 Montgomery, dir to army comdrs, M-516, 4 Aug 
44; Montgomery, dir to army comdrs, M-517, 6 Aug 
44. Both in SHAEF SGS 381 Post Overlord Plan- 
ning, I (a). 



THE BREAKOUT AND PURSUIT TO THE SEINE 



207 



and Avranches in the southern Cotentin 
and cut off and destroy U.S. forces in Brit- 
tany. Hitler's order for this counterattack 
reached OB WEST on 2 August and was 
passed on to von Kluge at Army Group B 
headquarters. The Commander in Chief 
West later declared that he believed the 
plan to be grandiose and impossible of ful- 
fillment, but at the moment he appears to 
have expressed agreement with the direc- 
tive. 39 

Hitler authorized von Kluge to shorten 
his line slightly east and west of Vire and 
move forces from there and from the Caen 
front to the area of Sourdeval for the coun- 
terattack. Units were also sent from the 
Pas-de-Calais area, inasmuch as the Ger- 
mans now thought a landing in that area 
unlikely. A gap which had been opened 
between Panzer Group West and Seventh 
Army was closed by German forces on 3 
August. 40 They succeeded in consolidating 
their lines on their northwestern and west- 
ern front and in forming a security line to 
the south. Fully accepting the threat to 
Brittany, von Kluge pushed preparations 
for his operation, deciding to attack at the 
end of the first week of August even if the 
assembly of troops was not complete. Hit- 
ler, for once somewhat cautious, held that 
the attack could succeed only if it was 
postponed until all available troops were 
concentrated. Moreover, he ordered Gen- 
eral Eberbach to lead the attack, but the 
Commander in Chief West, deciding that 
it was impossible to delay any longer and 
too late to change commanders, retained 
Generaloberst der Waffen SS Paul Haus- 
ser in charge of the operation." 

After Hitler had given his last-minute 
permission to execute the attack as 
planned, provided the two army com- 
manders would trade places immediately 
after the attack, he decided to send Gen- 
eral major Walter Buhle from his own 



headquarters to see that his wishes were 
carried out. 42 

In the late evening of 6 August, von 
Kluge launched the Mortain counter- 
attack. Hitler described it as "a unique, 
never recurring opportunity for a com- 
plete reversal of the situation." Elements, 
many very small and scattered, of six ar- 
mored divisions struck by way of Mortain 
to assault the area between the See and 
the Selune Rivers. The force of the lead- 
ing armored units hit the First Army, 
dealing a heavy blow to the 30th Division. 
Elements of the unit were encircled but 
continued to fight. The Germans made 
some progress in the early hours of 7 Au- 



38 OB WEST, KTB I. -31. VIII. 44, 2 Aug 44; Der 
Westers (Schramm); OI Special Interrogation Report 
39, Rittmeister Wilhelm Scheldt, 30 April 1947, The 
War in the West, 6 Jun 44- Mar 45, Headquarters, 
7707 Military Intelligence Service Center, APO 757, 
U.S. Army (referred to hereafter as OI-SIR/39 
[Scheldt]). The author of this report was the assistant 
to Generalmajor Walter Scherff, Hitler's Plenipoten- 
tiary for Military History. Scheidt relied heavily for 
his information on Der Westen (Schramm), which was 
made available to him after his capture. Consequently 
this report gives a good over-all picture as well as in- 
teresting details, but lays no claim to complete 
accuracy of fact and dates. No copy of Hitler's order 
of 2 August has been found so far. Its general content 
is reflected in the teletype from von Kluge to his army 
commanders ordering the preparations of the attack 
toward Avranches, 3 August 1944. Heeresgruppe B 
(referred to hereafter as Army Group B), la Operations 
Befehle9. VI. -31. VIII. 44. 

40 Panzer Group West was renamed Fifth Panzer 
Army, effective 5 August 1944. 

" Actually Hitler was not so much concerned with 
relieving General Hausser as with eliminating the 
XLVII Panzer Corps commander, General der Panzer - 
truppen Hans Freiherr von Funck. The attack proper 
was led by General Funck as the corps commander 
under General Hausser as the Seventh Army com- 
mander. 

« OB WEST, KTB I.-31.VIII.44, 3 to 6 Aug 44; 
Der Westen (Schramm); OI-SIR/39 (Scheidt; Army 
Group B, KTB 16. VII.-4.X.44, 3 and 6 Aug 44; Situ- 
ation maps (1:200,000) of WFSt/Op,(H), 3 to 5 Aug 
44; Armeeoberkommando 7 (referred to hereafter as Sev- 
enth Army), KTB Anlagen (Reports and Orders) 
31.VII.-I9.VIU.44, 4 Aug 44. 



208 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



gust, but the Allied air forces blasted them 
near noon. The enemy credited these at- 
tacks with stopping his initial thrust, men- 
tioning especially the work of British 
Typhoons. German air support was almost 
nonexistent. 43 

General Bradley quickly countered the 
German thrust with two additional divi- 
sions. In the meantime, Third Army units 
filled the area between Laval and Le 
Mans, threatening the south flank of the 
enemy. To the northeast, General Crerar's 
army struck on 7 August with tanks, artil- 
lery, and air east of the Orne on the 
Caen-Falaise road, menacing the rear of 
the attackers. To meet this new situation, 
the Germans were forced to draw on 
newly arrived armored and infantry ele- 
ments intended for the attack on 
Avranches. Toward midnight on 8 Aug- 
gust, von Kluge found it necessary to dis- 
continue his attack. Nonetheless, he 
ordered preparations for its later re- 
newal. 44 

Hitler was not immediately convinced 
that jhis drive toward Avranches had 
failed. Still hoping to cut off Allied forces 
in Brittany and then turn north to retake 
important harbors and parts of the sea 
coast essential to Allied supply, he insisted 
on resuming the counterattack. On 9 
August he blamed von Kluge for making 
his first attack too early and at a time 
especially suited for Allied air operations. 
He ordered the Commander in Chief 
West to renew the action, this time from 
the area of Domfront, southeast of Mor- 
tain. To free additional units for the opera- 
tion, the Seventh Army was permitted to 
withdraw to new positions. Hitler de- 
clared that he alone would give the date 
for the new attack. At the same time, the 
First Army was supposed to assemble an 
attack force in the Paris area. 45 



Closing the Falaise Gap 

While Hitler in East Prussia indulged 
himself in the illusion that he could roll up 
the U.S. forces in the Cotentin, the Allies 
moved boldly to encircle his troops. The 
enemy in sending the mass of his armored 
forces into the area southwest of Falaise 
had given the British and U.S. armies an 
opportunity to trap them between Falaise 
and Argentan. But the adoption of such a 
plan of action was not without its dangers 
for the Allies. Twelve U.S. divisions had 
been pushed through the corridor at 
Avranches and were still open to the men- 
ace of an enemy break-through to the sea 
which would cut the lines of communica- 
tions. The question was whether to use 
General Bradley's remaining four divi- 
sions to hold the front at Mortain or to 
send them around the enemy's left flank. 
After some consideration, the Allied com- 
manders decided on the bolder course. 
Noting that the enemy was trying to hold 
both Avranches and in front of Caen, Gen- 
eral Eisenhower on 8 August concluded 

43 OI-SIR/39 (Scheidt); OB WEST, KTB 1 .- 
31.VIII.44, 6, 7 Aug 44; Teletype Army Group B to OB 
WEST, 6 Aug 44. Army Group B, la Operations Befehle 
9.VI.-31.VIII.44. Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces 
in World War II, III, 249, gives statistics of British and 
U.S. air forces. A British Operations Research Group 
with the 2.1 Army Group which examined the 
knocked-out and abandoned tanks in this area shortly 
after the attack concluded that more of the tanks were 
knocked out by U.S. artillery and bazookas than by 
British or U.S. planes. The group did agree that the 
air forces were responsible for a number of indirect 
losses that resulted when crews fled leaving their tanks 
intact or when they destroyed them with special 
charges. (The report was shown to the author by a 
member of the team that made the report.) 

"Seventh Army, KTB (Draft) 6.VI.-16.VIII.44, 8 
Aug 44. 

45 Der Westen (Schramm); Hitler's order of 2300 
hours, 9 Aug 44 (WFSt/Op.Nr.772801/44). Army 
Group B, la Fuehrerbefehle 17. VI.-25.IX.44, 10 Aug 44; 
Warlimont statement, 12 Aug 44. Der Westen 
(Schramm). 



THE BREAKOUT AND PURSUIT TO THE SEINE 



209 



that the U.S. right wing, then driving due 
eastward, should turn to the north and at- 
tack the enemy in the rear. "On a visit to 
Bradley today," he wrote, "I found that 
he had already acted on this idea and had 
secured Montgomery's agreement to a 
sharp change in direction toward the 
Northeast instead of continuing toward 
the East, as envisaged in M-517 [Mont- 
gomery's directive of 6 August]." 46 

On the following day, the Supreme 
Commander reported to General Mar- 
shall: "Under my urgent directions all 
possible strength is turned to the destruc- 
tion of the forces facing us." Seeing the 
chance to clear the enemy from France, 
he was unwilling to detach forces merely 
to speed capture of the Brittany ports. 

Patton, Bradley, and Montgomery [he 
added] are all imbued with the necessity 
of acting and alive to the opportunity. Patton 
has the marching wing which will turn in 
rather sharply to the northeast from the gen- 
eral vicinity of Le Mans and just to the west 
thereof marching toward Alengon and 
Falaise. The enemy's bitter resistance and 
counterattacks in the area between Mortain 
and south of Caen makes it appear that we 
have a good chance to encircle and destroy 
a lot of his forces. You can well imagine how 
badly I want additional ports and the second 
that the issue of this battle is determined I 
will turn into Brittany enough forces to ac- 
complish the quick downfall of the ports.' 17 

General Montgomery confirmed the 
new plan in a directive of 1 1 August. Pre- 
paring now to deal with the Germans be- 
tween the Loire and the Seine, the 21 
Army Group commander called for the 
U.S. forces to swing their left flank from 
the Le Mans area almost due north to 
Alenqon. The First Canadian Army was 
to seize Falaise and move on Argentan, 
while the Second British Army on its right 
moved to the west and south. General 
Bradley directed the Third Army to shift 



its left wing toward the northeast, seize a 
bridgehead over the Sarthe at Le Mans, 
and prepare to strike the enemy flank and 
rear in the direction of Argentan. To its 
left, the First Army was to smash the en- 
emy in the area Vire-Mortain-Domfront. 
General Hodges' drive, while not as 
sweeping as General Patton's, was more 
complicated. The First Army advance 
"consisted of a thrust toward the south- 
east and a ninety-degree turn toward the 
northeast at the enemy flank and rear. It 
was a left wheel against the inter-army 
boundary and the effort of the First Army 
was to be directly at and perpendicular to 
the boundary between our army and that 
of the British." All Allied forces were to be 
prepared to put into effect a wide envelop- 
ment at the Seine should the enemy 
escape the trap near Falaise. 48 

The airborne planners at SHAEF now 
proposed operations to bar the escape of 
the enemy by way of the Paris-Orleans 
Gap and across the lower Seine. They 
worked up a plan to capture and control 
important road nets during the period 
16-27 August (Operation Transfigure). 
Variants on the plan called for airborne 
forces to block attempts at escape across 
the upper or lower Seine and to expedite 
pursuit across that river. General Bradley 
on 1 3 August even discussed the possibility 
of cutting off the German retreat by draw- 
ing airborne forces across the roads lead- 
ing northeast from Falaise and Argentan, 
although he agreed with General Brere- 
ton's view that they should not be used "in 

46 Eisenhower Memo, Diary Office CinC, 8 Aug 44. 

47 Eisenhower to Marshall, S-57189, 9 Aug 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 

48 Montgomery dir to army comdrs, M-518, 1 1 Aug 

44, SHAEF SGS 381 Post Overlord Planning; 12th 
A Gp Ltr of Instructions 4, 8 Aug 44, 12th A Gp Rpt 
of Opns, V; FUS A Rpt of Opns, 1 Aug 44-22 Feb 

45, Bk. I, pp. 9-10. 



210 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



small harassing operations such as re- 
quested by General Montgomery." He 
felt there was a possibility of using them 
two weeks later in making the "Long 
Hook" at the Seine, but saw no value in 
tightening the noose in the "Short Hook" 
near Falaise unless the drop could be 
made within five days. 49 

General Eisenhower tentatively decided 
on 15 August to cancel Transfigure and 
utilize the airlift needed for the operation 
to carry gasoline to the ground forces in 
the Le Mans area. His decision virtually 
brought to an end planning for that drop. 
When General Patton's forces soon over- 
ran the drop area, General Whiteley, 
SHAEF deputy chief of operations, sug- 
gested that available airborne forces be 
used to seize Boulogne or Calais. Air Chief 
Marshal Tedder and General Eisenhower, 
though still uncertain whether an air drop 
might be needed at the river itself, author- 
ized the necessary plans. General Bradley 
on 19 August informed XVIII Corps (Air- 
borne) that no assistance would be needed 
for a crossing in his zone of action, and 
representatives of 21 Army Group indi- 
cated that, if by 21 August ground troops 
were able to cross the Seine without delay, 
no call would be made on the airborne 
force for aid in that area. 50 

With the Allied turning movement 
under way, the enemy's only chance for 
escape lay in an immediate withdrawal 
to the east. Instead Hitler was regrouping 
his forces for another attack toward 
Avranches. On 10 and 11 August, von 
Kluge sent repeated messages to OKW on 
the dangerous situation in which he found 
himself. Late on the 10th, he announced 
that the Allies were advancing from Le 
Mans toward Alen<;on and that it was 
clear the U.S. forces were trying to join 
British forces in the north to pinch off the 



Seventh Army and Fifth Panzer Army. Point- 
ing out that a major German attack could 
not be made for at least ten days, he asked 
permission to make a short, sharp armored 
thrust at the U.S. spearheads pushing to 
the north. Before giving his approval, Hit- 
ler asked for more specific justification for 
the ten-day delay. Von Kluge consulted 
with his chief subordinates and declared 
at midday of 1 1 August that another 
strike at Avranches was no longer feasible. 
Instead, wholehearted measures would 
have to be taken against the impending 
envelopment by the Third Army forces. 
He proposed to regroup the armored 
forces for an attack near Alengon and to 
withdraw Seventh Army's western salient, 
and he asked for additional forces to pro- 
tect his flanks against the Allies. Without 
waiting for Hitler's permission, he took the 
responsibility of giving preliminary orders 
for such action. 

Hitler took von Kluge's proposal as a 
personal affront, particularly when von 
Kluge insisted that the Fuehrer make a 
final decision. He held that the Com- 
mander in Chief West wanted an order to 
retreat — a possibility that Hitler was un- 
willing to consider. Telephone conversa- 
tions between Jodl and von Kluge may 
have convinced Hitler of the need for a 
temporary reversal of attack direction. On 
the afternoon of the 1 1th, Hitler sus- 
pended his order of 9 August for a re- 
newed attack on Avranches and declared 
that the primary aim was to eliminate the 



" Outline Plans 1, 2, and 3, dtd 17 and 19 Aug 44, 
included in SHAEF G-3 Crossing of the Seine 
GCT/24562/A. B; Lewis H. Brereton, The Brereton 
Diaries (New York, 1946), pp. 3 2 3-24, 329-30, 
332-33. 

50 Whiteley to Chief Plans Sec G-3 SHAEF, 17 Aug 
44, SHAEF G-3 24533/Ops Future Opns; Tedder to 
Eisenhower and latter's reply, Diary Office CinC, 19 
Aug 44. 



THE BREAKOUT AND PURSUIT TO THE SEINE 



211 



threat to the south flank of the German 
army group by launching a concentric 
armored attack under General Eberbach 
against the flank of American XV Corps. 
In addition he directed First Army to as- 
semble the forces at its disposal around 
Chartres to meet threats in that area. He 
ordered troops concentrated on both wings 
of the northern front for defensive action 
in the areas of Falaise and Mortain, agree- 
ing that von Kluge could shorten his line 
near Sourdeval and Mortain in order to 
free forces." 

Hitler's change of plans came too late 
to meet von Kluge's immediate needs. The 
German situation on the north had 
worsened steadily since 7 August when 
British and Canadian forces had attacked 
on both sides of the Orne. German units 
had been forced to withdraw southward 
on both the 8th and 9th. To the south, ele- 
ments of the Third Army were near 
.Chartres. The Seventh Army lost its rear in- 
stallations during the period, and the task 
of supplying it had to be assumed by the 
Fifth Panzer Army. Shortly afterward an Al- 
lied thrust to the north cut off all but one 
of the enemy's supply roads. 52 

As German armor withdrew to new 
lines in mid-August, the First Army 
pressed to the northeast. Meanwhile, the 
Third Army, with all its corps active for 
the first time, threw its full weight into the 
battle. One corps hammered away at for- 
tresses in Brittany, while the others pushed 
to the north and the east. By 14 August, 
elements of Patton's forces were north of 
Argentan; Dreux, Chartres, and Orleans 
were set as goals for the rest. The Third 
Army's northern swing sharply com- 
pressed General Hodges' zone, pinching 
out two corps on 15 and 16 August. 

As early as 14 August many signs 
pointed to the enemy's collapse west of the 



Seine. Not only were spectacular gains be- 
ing made in northern France, but a land- 
ing in southern France scheduled for 15 
August was expected to shake enemy 
morale. 53 General Eisenhower, sensing the 
possibilities of the situation, called on the 
Allied forces to seize the fleeting but defi- 
nite opportunity to gain a major victory 
in France. He sent the following appeal to 
the troops under his command: 

I request every airman to make it his direct 
responsibility that the enemy is blasted un- 
ceasingly by day and by night, and is denied 
safety either in fight or flight. 

I request every sailor to make sure that no 
part of the hostile forces can either escape or 
be reinforced by sea, and that our comrades 
on the land want for nothing that guns and 
ships and ships' companies can bring to 
them. 

I request every soldier to go forward to his 
assigned objective with the determination 
that the enemy can survive only through sur- 
render; let no foot of ground once gained be 
relinquished nor a single German escape 
through a line once established. 54 

The deterioration of the German posi- 
tion was marked at this point by a com- 

51 General Eberbach on 9 August 1944 took com- 
mand of a provisional Panzer Group Eberbach tem- 
porarily turning command of the Fiftk Panzer Army 
over to SS Oberstgruppenfuehrer und Generaloberst 
der Waffen SS Sepp Dietrich. Firs! Army was trans- 
ferred from Army Group G to Army Group B on 1 1 
August 1944. • 

" OB WEST, KTB 1.-31.VUL44, 7 to 1 1 Aug 44; 
Army Group B, la Lagebettrteilungen 20. V.-11.X.44 and 
la Tagesmeldungen 6. VI.-31.VIII.44, 7 to 1 1 Aug 44; Der 
Wester, (Schramm); Seventh Army, KTB (Draft) 6. VI.- 
16.VIIl.44, 11 Aug 44; MS # B-725 (Gersdorff); 
OI-SIR/39 (Scheidt); Hitler's order of 1 1 Aug 44 
( WFSt/Op Mr. 772830/44). Army Group B, la Fuehrer- 
befehle, 17. VI.-25.IX.44, 12 Aug 44; Warlimont state- 
ments, 12 and 18 Aug 44. Der Westen (Schramm). 

53 See below, Oh. XII, for account of landing in 
southern France. 

" Messages to Troops of the AEF, 14 Aug 44, 
SHAEF AG 335,18. This message was not included 
in SGS file of the Supreme Commander's messages to 
AEF, but it was broadcast by General Eisenhower. It 
was mimeographed and distributed to the troops. 



212 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 




FIELD MARSHAL KESSELRING 



mand crisis in the west. On 14 August, 
Hitler, still angered by von Kluge's request 
for a final decision on Normandy, blamed 
the Commander in Chief West for the 
situation which had developed, saying 
that the difficulties had followed from 
improper handling of the attack on 
Avranches. On the morning of the follow- 
ing day von Kluge left the headquarters 
of the Fifth Panzer Army with the intention 
of meeting the commander of the Seventh 
Army and General Eberbach for a confer- 
ence at the latter's command post at the 
front. An Allied strafing attack, which 
wounded members of his staff and de- 
stroyed his radio, prevented von Kluge 
from reaching Eberbach's headquarters 
until late in the day. News of his arrival 
did not reach OB WEST or OKW until 
early the next morning. This absence of 
the Commander in Chief West during a 



highly critical period when the subordi- 
nate commanders were clamoring for 
instructions led Hitler to order first that 
General Hausser temporarily take com- 
mand of Army Group B and then that Gen- 
eralfeldmarschall Albert Kesselring and 
Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model come 
to OKW. One or the other was to be 
chosen as successor to von Kluge in case 




FIELD MARSHAL MODEL 



he did not return. His absence had an- 
other and more sinister effect in that Hit- 
ler gave credence to the rumor relayed to 
him that von Kluge had been on his way 
to meet Allied representatives to arrange 
for a surrender of his forces. Confessions 
that heavily implicated von Kluge had 
been forcibly obtained from some of the 
members of the 20 July conspiracy and 
given to Hitler by Ernst Kaltenbrunner, 
Chief of the Security Police and Security 



THE BREAKOUT AND PURSUIT TO THE SEINE 



213 



Service. The result was that Hitler on 16 
August decided to remove von Kluge and 
appoint Model to the command of OB 
WEST.™ 

Hitler gave orders on 1 6 August to fight 
the battle of Falaise to the end. The forces 
in the pocket astride and west of the 
Falaise- Argentan road were to be moved 
first east of the Orne and then east of the 
Dives. Army Group B was to hold the "cor- 
ner post" of Falaise and widen the escape 
corridor by mobile action in the area of 
Argentan. On the 16th General Jodl gave 
Model some verbal directives on the fu- 
ture conduct of operations in the west, 
supplementing them with instructions 
from the Fuehrer for the establishment of 
a new position as far west as possible in 
front of the Seine- Yonne line. German 
forces withdrawing from southwestern and 
southern France were to be integrated in 
this new/position. 56 The big problem at 
the moment was to prevent the Allies from 
crossing the Seine and getting beyond 
Paris. Shortly before his relief von Kluge 
discussed this problem with General- 
leutnant Dietrich von Choltitz, Armed 
■Forces Commander Greater Paris, and directed 
him to hold the city as long as possible. 

On 17 August von Kluge was formally 
relieved of his command. Two days later, 
while en route to Germany by car, he took 
cyanide and died. Suicide, he said in a last 
letter to Hitler, appeared to be the only 
honorable course left open to him. While 
he felt no guilt for the defeat of his forces, 
he saw little prospect of a sympathetic 
hearing in Germany. He called upon the 
Fuehrer to recognize the hopelessness of 
the German situation and to conclude a 
peace. 57 

Despite the problems of the enemy, the 
task of closing in for the final kill in Nor- 
mandy was not easy. Not only did the 
Fifth Panzer and Seventh Armies fight fiercely 



to hold open the jaws of the trap that was 
slowly closing, but the difficulty of read- 
justing Allied army group boundaries in 
the battle area interfered with the opti- 
mum use of Allied forces committed in the 
Falaise area. As early as 6 August, the 21 
Army Group commander had set a 
boundary between the British and U.S. 
forces some sixteen miles south of Falaise 
and a few miles south of Argentan. On 1 1 
August, in disregard of this arrangement, 
General Patton directed Maj. Gen. Wade 
H. Haislip, commander of the XV Corps, 
to "push on slowly direction of Falaise al- 
lowing your rear elements to close." Road: 
Argentan-Falaise your boundary inclu- 
sive. Upon arrival Falaise continue to push 
on slowly until you contact our Allies." 58 
By the 13th, the XV Corps had reached 
the vicinity of Argentan and other ele- 



55 This shift in command was followed at the be- 
ginning of September by the relief and arrest of Gen- 
eralleutnant Han Speidel, Army Group B chief of staff, 
for suspected complicity in the 20 July plot. OB 
WEST, KTB 1.-31.VIII.44; Der Westen (Schramm); 
Minutes of conference between Hitler and General- 
leutnant Siegfried Westphal and Generalleutnant 
Hans Krebs on 31 Aug 44, part of the collection 
known as Minutes of Conferences between Hitler and 
Members of the German Armed Forces High Com- 
mand, December 1942-March 1945 (referred to here- 
after as Minutes of Hitler Conferences); Jodl Diary, 
3 1 Jul 44; Hans Speidel, We Defended Normandy (Lon- 
don, 1951). 

56 OB WEST, KTB 1.-31.VIII.44, 16 Aug 44; Warli- 
mont statement, 18 Aug 44. Der Westen (Schramm); 
Lt Col Karl Kleyser statement, 25 Aug 44. Der Westen 
(Schramm). 

57 Von Kluge's suicide was interpreted by the 
Nazis, particularly by Bormann, as a means of escap- 
ing trial and almost certain execution. Minutes of 
Hitler Conferences, 31 Jul 44; Kluge file, 20 Jul 44 
trial collection; Ltr, von Kluge to Hitler, 18 Aug 44, 
in Dietrich v. Choltitz, Soldat unter Soldaten (Zuerich, 
1951). 

58 Montgomery dir to army comdrs, M-517, 6 Aug 
44, SHAEF SGS 381 Post Overlord Planning, I (a); 
12th A Gp, Ltr of Instructions 3, 6 Aug 44, 12th A 
Gp Rpt of Opns, V; CofS Third Army to CG XV 
Corps, 12 Aug 44, TUSA Rpt of Opns, I. 



214 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



merits of the Third Army were pushing 
east and northeast of that city. General 
Bradley, to avoid colliding with the British 
forces coming from the north, firmly or- 
dered General Patton to halt at Argentan 
and build up his forces on that shoulder. 59 

In the next two or three days, between 
the time that forward elements of General 
Patton's forces were barred from proceed- 
ing north of the army group boundary and 
the time that a readjustment in the line 
was made, the enemy withdrew some of 
his divisions while carrying on counter- 
attacks around the eastern edges of the 
trap. General Patton felt that the order to 
halt had deprived him of a chance to take 
Falaise and close the gap, thus permitting 
a number of the enemy to escape. How 
many of the thousands that ultimately got 
out of the trap could have been held in the 
Falaise Pocket on 13 or 14 August if for- 
ward elements of the Third Army had 
been pushed across the army group 
boundary cannot be firmly established. 
Some of the enemy commanders who were 
in Normandy at the time were inclined to 
believe after the war that the rigid bound- 
ary had interfered with an envelopment of 
the Seventh and Fifth Panzer Armies.™ 

General Eisenhower later explained 
that the rapidity of U.S. movements dur- 
ing August made it impossible for General 
Montgomery "to achieve the hour-by- 
hour coordination that might have won us 
a complete battle of annihilation." Mix- 
ups had occurred along the front which 
could be straightened out only by stop- 
ping units in place, even at the expense of 
permitting some Germans to escape. 
When U.S. commanders had protested to 
General Bradley against restrictions on 
their movements across the interarmy 
boundary, the Supreme Commander had 
backed the 1 2th Army Group command- 



er's decision to adhere to the boundary 
established. 61 

On 15 August, General Montgomery 
decided to change the boundary to permit 
U.S. troops to come further north. On the 
same day, the First Army troops pushed 
their way to the boundary west of Argen- 
tan, and General Hodges asked permis- 
sion to continue his advance north of the 
line to Putanges. The 21 Army Group 
commander, some of whose advisers had 
previously favored a shift in the line, 
readily agreed, and the U.S. forces pushed 
their way across the army group bound- 
ary, advancing north of the Flers-Argen- 
tan road. Later, he approved U.S. thrusts 
north of the line toward Chambois and 
Trun. 62 

From the 1 5th on, the enemy attempted 



59 Bradley, A Soldier's Story-, pp. 375-77. See George 
S. Patton, Jr., War as I Knew It, p. 105, for suggestion 
that he may have been stopped because British forces 
had sowed time bombs in the area. Stacey, The Cana- 
dian Army, p. 204 (footnote), notes that 12th Army 
Group informed the British that time bombs had been 
dropped in the Argentan-Falaise area. Craven and 
Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War II, III, 257-58, 
says that U.S. air forces did plant time bombs in the 
area to prevent the enemy's escape but concludes that 
"the halt order of 13 August could not reasonably 
have been occasioned by fear that delayed-action 
bombs would take American lives." 

General Bradley in his memoirs notes that General 
Montgomery had never prohibited nor had he (Brad- 
ley) ever proposed that U.S. forces close the gap from 
Argentan to Falaise. He adds: "To have driven pell- 
mell into Montgomery's line of advance could easily 
have resulted in a disastrous error of recognition. In 
halting Patton at Argentan, however, I did not con- 
sult with Montgomery. The decision to stop Patton 
was mine alone; it never went beyond my CP." (p. 
377.) 

80 MS # B-727, The Battle of the Falaise-Argen- 
tan Pocket (Gersdorff); MS # B-726, Defensive 
Fighting of the Fifth Panzer Army from 25 July to 25 
August 1944 (Gersdorff). 

61 Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, pp. 278-79; Diary 
Office CinC, 17 Aug 44. 

62 Ltr, Bradley to Eisenhower, 10 Sep 44, Eisen- 
hower personal file; Ltr, Brig Williams to author, 10 
Aug 51. 



THE BREAKOUT AND PURSUIT TO THE SEINE 



215 



to pull his forces out of the trap near 
Falaise. Some frantic efforts were made to 
cut off Allied armored spearheads and thus 
keep open an escape route to the east. 
Supply difficulties increased constantly 
and efforts were made to fly in fuel for the 
German armored elements covering the 
retreat. Meanwhile, the 2d Canadian 
Corps was racing southward to close the 
gap. General Simonds' two armored divi- 
sions, one Canadian and one Polish, were 
given this task. Canadian forces took Trun 
on the 18th, while Polish and Canadian 
forces sped toward Chambois. Here on the 
evening of 19 August, elements of General 
Hodges' V Corps met Polish tankers to 
complete the encirclement of Seventh Army 
and parts of Fifth Panzer Army, an esti- 
mated 125,000 men. 

Withdrawal to the Seine 

Just before the trap was closed, Hitler 
had given Field Marshal Model a number 
of heavy tasks. The new Commander in 
Chief West was ordered to withdraw 
Seventh Army across the Seine in order to 
avoid being cut off, to use armored forces 
to connect elements forming the ring 
around Paris, to defend the area southeast 
of Paris so that Nineteenth Army troops from 
the south of France would be able to with- 
draw, to prevent an Allied crossing of the 
Seine south of Paris, and to bar Allied ad- 
vances in a northerly direction along the 
lower Seine. These orders came too late to 
aid many of the forces in the trap. For 
three days, fighter-bombers and massed 
artillery had been punishing them as they 
sought desperately to escape. Seventh Army, 
its position now virtually hopeless, decided 
to move its headquarters out of the 
threatened area. Most of the staff escaped, 
but General Hausser, the army com- 



mander, was wounded. Once the pocket 
was completely closed, the Fifth Panzer 
Army, which Eberbach again commanded, 
regrouped for a counterattack to free ele- 
ments of Seventh Army. The units still in the 
trap forced open a small corrider while 
simultaneously armored elements smash- 
ing from east of the encircled area hit the 
Allies near Trun and St. Lambert-sur- 
Dives and helped to extricate the escaping 
units. In the course of heavy fighting dur- 
ing the next three days, some 30,000 to 
35,000 soldiers escaped, leaving the bulk 
of their tanks, vehicles, and artillery be- 
hind. The Fifth Panzer Army, placed in 
charge of the entire area from the Chan- 
nel to just west of Paris, was ordered to 
collect fleeing units of the entrapped divi- 
sions at points west of the Seine. Few of 
the units were in any condition to 
continue the fight. 63 

On 19 August, General Eisenhower had 
discussed with his army group command- 
ers plans for the pursuit of the fleeing 
enemy. They defined their immediate ob- 
jective as the destruction of the enemy 
forces west of the Seine. To gain this end, 
General Montgomery the following day 
directed elements of the First Canadian 
Army and of 12th Army Group to hold 



63 Stacey, The Canadian Army, pp. 204-06; Craven 
and Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War II, III, 
256-75. Der Westen (Schramm); OB WEST, KTB 1 - 
31.VIII.44, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20 Aug 44; MS # B-727 
(Gersdorff); Army Group B, la Tagesmeldungen 6. VI.- 
31.VIII.44, 19, 20 Aug 44; Fifth Panzer Army, KTB 
9. VIII. -9. IX. 44, 20 Aug 44. Rad, Army Group B to Sev- 
enth Army, 18 Aug 44; Rad, Army Group B to II SS 
Panzer Corps and Fifth Panzer Army, 18 Aug 44. Both 
in Army Group B, la Operations Befehle 9. VI.-31. VII 1. 44. 
Teletype, Army Group B (la Nr. 6078/44 ) to Fifth Pan- 
zer Army, 16 Aug 44; Order by Model (la Nr. 6376/44 ) 
to Fifth Panzer Army, 21 Aug 44. Both in Fifth Panzer 
Army, KTB Anlagen9.VIII.-9.IXJ4. For the informa- 
tion on units that escaped from the Falaise Gap, the 
author has relied on a special study of German units 
conducted by Mrs. Magna Bauer of OCMH. 



216 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



firmly the northern and southern sides of 
the "bottle" in which the enemy was 
trapped, keeping the "cork" in position in 
the eastern end. Other elements of the 
12th Army Group were to drive north- 
ward to the lower Seine to block the 
enemy's withdrawal. The 21 Army Group 
was to give first priority to mopping up the 
Falaise Pocket before pushing to the Seine. 
When it was ready for this latter drive, the 
U.S. forces pushing to the north were to 
withdraw from the British front. 64 

These widespread shifts of Allied units 
created great confusion in Allied lines of 
communications. Already on 19 August, 
General Eisenhower had reported that 
U.S. and British units were entangled as 
a result of "rapid advances and conse- 
quent overlapping in attacks on a con- 
verging and fluent front." These problems 
were magnified when U.S. forces made a 
wide envelopment northward along the 
left bank of the Seine directly across the 
Second British Army's front. Generals 
Montgomery and Dempsey, occupied in 
mopping up enemy forces in the Falaise 
Pocket, had accepted the American 
maneuver as a means of destroying the 
enemy west of the Seine in that area and 
of cutting off the German retreat across 
the Seine. 65 

Elements of both the First and Third 
Armies wheeled northeast along the left 
bank of the Seine after 20 August. The 
Third Army, whose widely separated units 
had announced the capture of St. Malo on 
17 August and the establishment of a 
bridgehead across the Seine at Mantes- 
Gassicourt on 20 August, now sent its left 
wing marching in the direction of Vernon. 
To its left, the First Army pushed a corps 
almost due north of Dreux on 20 August. 
Elements of this unit were in Evreux on 
the 23d and by the 25th had carried di- 
rectly across the front of the Second Brit- 



ish Army to Elbeuf some eleven miles 
southwest of Rouen. 66 

The Second British Army started its 
drive for the Seine on 20 August. Ground- 
ing one corps, whose transport was taken 
for the advance, General Dempsey sent 
forward the two other corps under his 
command. One corps passed through U.S. 
forces northeast of Argentan on the 20th 
and pushed forward to the Verneuil-Bre- 
teuil area where it stopped on the 23d as 
elements of the First Army drove across its 
front toward the north. The other corps, 
moving forward rapidly from Chambois, 
on the 26th sent elements across the axis 
of the First Army's advance in preparation 
for a crossing of the Seine at Louviers. The 
First Canadian Army, with a Canadian 
and a British corps under its command, 
sped eastward on 23 August leaving two 
divisions to complete mopping up activ- 
ities in the pocket. The 2d Canadian 
Corps reached the Seine and made con- 
tact with U.S. forces near Elbeuf on the 
26th. Meanwhile, General Crerar had 
sent the British corps under his command 
along his seaward flank toward the Seine. 
Despite heavy opposition in the Pont- 
l'Eveque and Lisieux areas, elements of 
this unit reached the Seine on 27 August. 67 

64 Notes of a conference between Bradley and Pat- 
ton, 19 August 1944, in which the former outlined 
plans agreed on at a previous meeting the same day 
between Eisenhower, Montgomery, and Bradley; 
Memo for record, 1 9 Aug 44. Both in 12th A Gp 371.3 
Military Objectives, I. Montgomery dir to army 
comdrs, M-519, 20 Aug 44, SHAEF SGS 381 Post 
Overlord Planning, 1(a). 

65 Bradley to Eisenhower, 10 Sep 44, Eisenhower 
personal file, discusses the conference with Mont- 
gomery and Dempsey in which this envelopment was 
approved. See also Bradley dir to army comdrs, ad- 
denda to Ltr of Instructions 5(17 Aug 44), 1 9 Aug 44 , 
12 A Gp Rpt of Opns, V; Montgomery dir to army 
comdrs, M-519, 20 Aug 44, SHAEF SGS 381 Post 
Overlord Planning, 1(a). 

66 Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic, p. 1 72. 
"Ibid., pp. 176-78; Stacey, The Canadian Army, 

pp. 207-08. 



THE BREAKOUT AND PURSUIT TO THE SEINE 



217 



The Allies by 26 August had driven the 
retreating Germans into new pockets near 
the loops in the lower Seine between El- 
beuf and Le Havre. No bridges existed 
across the Seine below Paris, and the fer- 
ries were insufficient to accommodate the 
troops hurrying to cross the river. Allied 
airplanes destroyed the few military 
bridges that were erected almost as soon 
as they were set up. Panic increased as 
troops and vehicles piled up and fighter- 
bombers blasted massed columns waiting 
to cross. Allied tanks added to the confu- 
sion when they reached the river and 
began firing on the ferries. In view of these 
difficulties, some German generals later 
expressed surprise that they were able to 
bring anything across at all. 68 

Some confusion resulted from the north- 
ward thrust of U.S. forces across the Brit- 
ish front. General Montgomery, in author- 
izing the move, had been aware of this 
possibility and had authorized direct con- 
tact between army, corps, and division 
commanders to settle difficulties. A mis- 
understanding arose, nevertheless, when 
General Dempsey was quoted in early 
September as saying that he had been de- 
layed forty-eight hours when required to 
hold back his units while the U.S. forces 
withdrew. General Bradley, feeling that 
this statement was a reflection on his com- 
mand, pointed out that the drive north- 
ward had been approved by General 
Montgomery after the 21 Army Group 
commander had said British forces were 
not in the position at the moment to carry 
out the maneuver. The U.S. commander 
argued that the First Army's push to 
Elbeuf had speeded the advance of the 
Second British Army by removing the 
enemy from its path. General Montgom- 
ery, informed of the complaint, immedi- 
ately sent his "profound apologies" to the 
12th Army Group commander. General 



Dempsey later declared that, while he still 
believed his troops could have reached the 
Seine earlier but for the delay caused by 
the withdrawal of U.S. forces across his 
front, he would be glad to be held up 
again if he could have the type of support 
he received from General Bradley's forces 
on that occasion. 69 

Although the Allies had not destroyed 
all of the enemy forces in Normandy, they 
had won a resounding victory. German 
troops that escaped to the right bank of 
the Seine arrived there with little more 
than their rifles. Five decimated divisions 
had to be sent to Germany. The broken 
remnants of the remaining eleven infantry 
divisions yielded personnel barely suffi- 
cient for four reconstituted units, each 
with only a handful of artillery pieces and 
little other materiel. What remained of 
five Army and six SS panzer divisions, 
when bolstered by newly arrived person- 
nel and materiel replacements, amounted 
to eleven regimental combat teams, each 
with five to ten operationally fit tanks and 
a few batteries of artillery. 70 



68 OB WEST, KTB 1 .-31 .VIII.44, 26 Aug 44; MS 
# B-729, Report on the Fighting of the Fifth Panzer 
Army from 24 August to 4 September 44 (Col. Paul 
Frank); MSS # T-121, 122, and 123, Geschichte des 
"Oberbefehlskaber West," edited by Generalleutnant 
Bodo Zimmermann (la [G-3] of OB WEST), Pt. I, B, 
IV (referred to hereafter as MS # T-121, MS # 
T-122, or MS # T-123 [Zimmermann et at.]). This 
is a million-word manuscript prepared in part by 
Zimmermann, in part by generals and general- staff 
officers associated with OB WEST, OKW, OKL, 
OKH, OKM, and various subordinate commands. 
It was written under the auspices of the Historical 
Division, U. S. War Department, between 1946 and 
1948. 

69 Clipping from London Daily Telegraph and Morn- 
ing Post, September 5, 1944, Diary Office CinC; Ltr, 
Bradley to Eisenhower, 10 Sep 44, Eisenhower per- 
sonal file; Interv with Dempsey, 12 Mar 47. 

70 Rpt. Army Group B (la Nr. 6704/44 ) by Model to 
Chief OKW/WFSt, 29 Aug 44. Army Group B, la 
Lagebeurteilungen 20.V.-11 .X.44. 



CHAPTER XII 



The Campaign in 
Southern France 



In mid- August as General Eisenhower's 
forces closed in on the enemy in the 
Falaise Pocket and prepared to cross the 
Seine, a second Allied force landed in 
southern France with the objects of aiding 
the battle in Normandy and of opening 
major ports through which troops could 
be landed for the impending battle for 
Germany. This operation, Anvil, en- 
visaged by the Combined Chiefs of Staff 
early in 1943 and agreed upon at Tehran 
in December of that year, had been laid 
aside temporarily in the spring of 1944. At 
that time Overlord's demands for land- 
ing craft required the shifting of resources 
earmarked for southern France. Some of 
the British appear to have hoped that they 
had heard the last of Anvil, but the U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff and General Eisenhower 
continued to insist that it be launched as 
soon as possible. Because of his confirmed 
belief that the operation was important to 
Overlord's success, the Supreme Com- 
mander became deeply involved in the 
Anvil controversy during the late spring 
and early summer of 1944. 

The Second Phase of the ANVIL Controversy 

The U.S. Chiefs of Staff and General 
Eisenhower never relinquished their view 
that Anvil was essential to Overlord 



both to divert enemy forces from the lodg- 
ment area in the north and to gain addi- 
tional ports in the south. While the second 
factor became the more important as the 
time approached for the operation, it was 
the need for diversion which General 
Eisenhower stressed in June 1944. The 
British, however, preferred to use avail- 
able resources in the Mediterranean for a 
thrust into northern Italy and an advance 
through the Trieste area and the Ljubljana 
Gap into central Europe to join forces 
with Russian troops, who had resumed 
their advance westward in June. Mr. 
Churchill made no effort to conceal his 
pronounced distaste for the landings in 
southern France and brought pressure on 
the Supreme Commander and the U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff to shake the Anvil concept. 
On this issue, Mr. Churchill and General 
Eisenhower differed fundamentally, and 
the latter was deeply disturbed at the 
strong feeling evinced by the Prime Min- 
ister on the subject. 

The Joint . Chiefs of Staff before the 
Overlord D Day pressed their British 
colleagues to name a date for the Anvil 
operation. The British Chiefs for their part 
asked General Wilson, Supreme Allied 
Commander in the Mediterranean, to 
suggest alternative plans for operations in 
his area during the summer and fall of 



THE CAMPAIGN IN SOUTHERN FRANCE 



219 



1944. In mid-May he suggested that the 
largest amphibious operation likely to be 
practicable was one launched against 
southern France in the area of Toulon or 
Sete, more than one hundred miles due 
west of Toulon. This would open the way 
for an advance up the Rhone valley or 
westward through the Toulouse Gap. Wil- 
son warned, however, that such an oper- 
ation would leave only limited offensive 
power for a campaign in Italy. 1 

The entry of the Allies into Rome two 
days before the Normandy invasion en- 
abled General Wilson on 7 June to declare 
his readiness to launch an amphibious op- 
eration about 15 August on the largest 
scale permitted by his available resources. 
The statement found ready listeners at 
SHAEF where planners were at work on 
the best means of using strategic reserves 
to support Overlord. To them, an assault 
in the south of France would help Over- 
lord either by diverting enemy forces 
from the bridgehead or by bringing more 
Allied troops into France for an all-out at- 
tack. In the case of a stalemate, an assault 
from the Mediterranean seemed essential 
as a means of drawing enemy forces from 
Normandy. If, on the other hand, the bat- 
tle went according to plan, there were 
more divisions available for the European 
theater than could be maintained, accord- 
ing to current estimates, through the ports 
of the lodgment area up to D plus 180. 
Therefore, the best chance for use of maxi- 
mum Allied resources against the enemy 
seemed to lie in Anvil or some similar op- 
eration from the Mediterranean. 2 

Future operations in the Mediterranean 
theater were discussed by the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff in London on 1 1 June. 
While they expressed a willingness to ex- 
plore various possibilities, the basic differ- 
ences which had existed in the early spring 



between U.S. and British points of view 
again came to light. Field Marshal Brooke 
was interested in the possibilities of further 
advances in Italy in view of General Alex- 
ander's belief that he could reach the Pisa- 
Rimini line by 15 July; Air Chief Marshal 
Portal noted opportunities for a move 
northeast by way of Istria if Russian ad- 
vances from the east made the project 
feasible. The U.S. Chiefs of Staff, though 
willing to discuss other plans of action, 
held firmly to an operation in the western 
Mediterranean. As a means of initiating 
planning, the Combined Chiefs of Staff 
agreed that a three-division assaujt should 
be mounted from the Mediterranean 
about 25 July. General Wilson was made 
responsible for submitting plans for opera- 
tions at Sete and Istria, and General 
Eisenhower for the Bay of Biscay. At the 
moment the British Chiefs of Staff believed 
that landings at Sete or on the west coast 
of France would be the ones most likely to 
aid the Overlord operation. 3 They did 
not favor a landing in the Marseille area. 

General Eisenhower, charged with plan- 
ning an operation in southwestern France, 
described Bordeaux as the only worth- 
while objective in that area but believed 
that it was impractical to attack it. In 
southeastern France, he preferred a land- 
ing at Sete to one at Marseille, since the 
former would make it easier to open 

1 AFHQtoJSM and JCS, MEDCOS 1 10, 17 May 
44; AFHQ to Br COS, MEDCOS 111, 18 May 44; 
AMSSO to SACEA, COSSEA 105, 24 May 44. All 
in SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediter- 
ranean in Support of Overlord, II. 

2 Wilson to Br COS, MEDCOS 125, 7 Jun 44; 
SHAEF G-3 Ping Sec Study, Use of the Mediter- 
ranean Strategic Reserves, 10 Jan 44. SHAEF SGS 
370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in Sup- 
port of Overlord, II. 

3 CCS Conf, 1 63d Mtg, London, 1 1 Jun 44; CCS 
to Wilson, OZ-31 16, 14 Jun 44. Both in SHAEF SGS 
370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in Sup- 
port of Overlord, II. 



220 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Bordeaux. As to a choice between the 
Adriatic and southern France, he favored 
the latter since a landing there would keep 
more Germans away from the lodgment 
area in the north. In addition, it would 
"reap the benefit of French resistance," 
which he said was yielding results beyond 
his expectations and was particularly 
strong in the south of France. 4 

The Mediterranean Supreme Com- 
mander on 17 June discussed the problem 
with his commanders in chief and with 
Generals Marshall and Arnold. While 
preferring an operation which would give 
complete support to a thrust from the Po 
valley into central Europe, he was im- 
pressed by General Marshall's argument 
which 

brought out clearly for the first time a point 
which seems to be of paramount impor- 
tance . . . namely that there are between 
40 and 50 divisions in the United States 
which cannot be introduced into France as 
rapidly as desired or maintained there 
through the ports of Northwest France or by 
staging through the United Kingdom; and, 
therefore, if the weight of these divisions is to 
be brought to bear upon the enemy in 
France, we must seize another major port at 
an early date. 5 

General Wilson next turned to the 
British thesis that Overlord could be 
aided elsewhere than in the south of 
France. Since by 19 June there no longer 
seemed to be any fear about the security of 
the beachhead, he emphasized a strategy 
that would divert German units from 
France and face the enemy with prospects 
of defeat in 1944. He conceded that, if the 
main consideration was seizure of another 
major port, the Anvil operation should be 
carried out as planned. In this case, he 
preferred an assault against Toulon rather 
than the Sete area inasmuch as the former 
would make the most effective use of 



French Resistance forces, make available 
the huge port capacity of Marseille,, and 
virtually end the submarine menace in the 
Mediterranean. 

Set over against these advantages, which 
seemed to be sufficient to prove the case of 
the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, was the fact that 
Anvil could not be launched until 15 
August at the earliest without danger of 
prejudicing the fight in Italy south of the 
Pisa-Rimini line. Stopping the Allied 
forces in front of the Pisa-Rimini line, he 
said, meant breaking up a first-class fight- 
ing force after months of co-operation, and 
switching forces from Italy to southern 
France would impose a six-week pause on 
the Mediterranean operation which would 
permit the enemy to rest and regroup his 
forces. General Wilson proposed, instead, 
that the Allies exploit "the present suc- 
cess in Italy through the Pisa-Rimini line 
across the Po and then . . . advance 
toward southern Hungary through the 
Ljubljana Gap," the latter advance being 
taken in conjunction with amphibious and 
airborne attacks against the enemy to di- 
vert at least ten divisions from the Balkans 
and France into northern Italy. 

General Eisenhower presented a dif- 
ferent view of the Anvil operation to the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff four days later. 
He stressed the fact that Overlord was 
the decisive campaign of 1944 and that a 
stalemate would be regarded by the world 
as a defeat, with possible far-reaching 
effects on the war effort of the Russians. 
With the Bordeaux expedition precluded, 
he found that the Anvil operation pro- 

4 Eisenhower to Wilson, S-53967, 16 Jun 44, 
SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediter- 
ranean in Support of Overlord, II. 

5 This and the two succeeding paragraphs are 
based on General Wilson's letter to General Eisen- 
hower, 19 June 1944, SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Operation 
from the Mediterranean in Support of Overlord, II. 



THE CAMPAIGN IN SOUTHERN FRANCE 



221 



vided the most direct route to northern 
France, "where the battles for the Ruhr 
will be fought." Such an operation would 
not only divert enemy divisions from the 
Overlord area, but also provide a port 
through which reinforcements from the 
United States could be deployed and a 
route over which they could advance for 
battle in northern France. While agreeing 
that the port of Marseille was less desirable 
than Bordeaux from the standpoint of dis- 
tance from the United States and of prox- 
imity to the Overlord area, the time fac- 
tor was so important that he thought the 
Bordeaux operation could be rejected in 
favor of the Anvil operation. "France," 
he insisted, "is the decisive theater. This 
decision was taken long ago by the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff. In my view, the re- 
sources of Great Britain and the U.S. will 
not permit us to maintain two major 
theaters in the European War, each with 
decisive missions." He recommended, 
therefore, that the Mediterranean re- 
sources be used to launch the Anvil opera- 
tion not later than 30 August and prefer- 
ably fifteen days earlier. Anticipating a 
renewed proposal for an advance in the 
Adriatic area, he asked that if Anvil was 
not launched by 30 August all French di- 
visions and one or two U.S. divisions 
allocated for Anvil be made available for 
Overlord operations as soon as they 
could be brought into the latter area." 

The U.S. Chiefs of Staff immediately 
gave their blessing to General Eisen- 
hower's arguments, suggesting only that 
1 August was a better date for the opera- 
tion and ruling unacceptable any pro- 
posals to commit Mediterranean resources 
in large-scale operations in either northern 
Italy or the Balkans. To General Eisen- 
hower's reasons for preferring the Anvil 
operation, they added that it would put 



French troops into the fight for their 
homeland, employ a number of battle- 
trained U.S. troops from the Mediterra- 
nean, make the best possible use of the air 
build-up in Corsica, and concentrate the 
Allied forces and put them into battle in 
the decisive theater. 7 

Prime Minister Churchill, whether he 
was disturbed by the tone of this com- 
munication, which he described as "arbi- 
trary," or whether he saw in the American 
stand an end to any hope of further major 
advances in the Mediterranean, now 
opened a strong campaign with the Presi- 
dent and the Supreme Commander to 
break the "deadlock" which he found ex- 
isting between the British and U.S. Chiefs 
of Staff. On receipt of the U.S. note, he 
cabled Mr. Roosevelt asking that the lat- 
ter "consent to hear both sides" before 
making up his mind. He expressed his 
willingness to help General Eisenhower, 
but not at the expense of the complete ruin 
"of our great affairs in the Mediterranean 
and we take it hard that this should be de- 
manded of us." In a lengthy survey of the 
question, he held that a landing place 
must be chosen in relation to both the 
main effort of Eisenhower and the strain 
on Germany. Political considerations such 
as revolts or surrender of satellites he also 
believed to be valid and important factors. 
He found the taking of Le Havre and St. 
Nazaire to have a far closer relation to the 
battle than the seizure of ports in the 
Mediterranean, and believed that an ac- 
tion from Bayonne or some smaller port 
on the Bay of Biscay to take Bordeaux was 
to be preferred to a "heavy footed" ap- 

6 Eisenhower to CCS, SCAF 53, 23 Jun 44, SHAEF 
SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in 
Support of Overlord, II. 

7 JSM to AMSSO, JSM 112, 24 Jun 44, SHAEF 
SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in 
Support of Overlord, II. 



222 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



proach from Sete. Pointing to the 400 
miles from Marseille to Paris, and the ad- 
ditional 200 miles to Cherbourg, he called 
an attack in the Marseille area "bleak and 
sterile" and found it difficult to believe 
that an operation there or at Toulon or 
Sete could have any influence on Over- 
lord in the coming summer and fall. He 
agreed that the proposed operation for the 
Adriatic was equally unrelated to Over- 
lord, but cited General Wilson's belief 
that he could have Trieste by September. 
In the light of these arguments, he 
declared: 

Whether we should ruin all hopes of a 
major victory in Italy and all its fronts and 
condemn ourselves to a passive role in that 
theatre, after having broken up the fine 
Allied army which is advancing so rapidly 
through that Peninsula, for the sake of Anvil 
with all its limitations, is indeed a grave 
question for His Majesty's Government and 
the President, with the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff, to decide. 8 

Before he received the last cables of the 
Prime Minister, President Roosevelt had 
concurred completely with the stand of 
the U.S. Chiefs of Staff and had declared 
unacceptable General Wilson's proposal 
to use nearly all Mediterranean resources 
for an advance into northern Italy and 
thence to the northeast. He agreed that 
nothing could be worse than a deadlock of 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff as to a future 
course, adding: "You and I must prevent 
this and I think we should support the 
views of the Supreme Allied Commander. 
He is definitely for Anvil and wants action 
in the field by August 30th preferably 
earlier." 9 

This answer did not deter the British 
Chiefs of Staff and the Prime Minister 
from making other attempts to change the 
U.S. stand. General Eisenhower encour- 
aged the Washington Chiefs to hold their 



ground with a statement on 29 June that 
while he believed the British were honestly 
convinced that a drive toward Trieste 
would aid Overlord more than an as- 
sault in southern France, and would make 
one more attempt to persuade the U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff of the value of the Trieste 
move, they would not permit "an impasse 
to arrive" and would "consequently agree 
to Anvil." He thought that in such an 
event they would propose to strengthen 
that operation, with General Alexander 
taking over responsibility for Anvil as the 
principal offensive in the Mediterranean 
theater. "I would personally be glad to see 
him in charge. . . . Since in the long run 
France is to be more the business of Brit-r 
ain than of ours, I would be delighted to' 
see more British divisions in that 
country." 10 

General Eisenhower's prediction as to 
the approaching British decision on Anvil 
proved correct. The Prime Minister on 
1 July in the course of a telephone conver- 
sation with the Supreme Commander, dur- 
ing which the latter stressed the need of an 
additional port through which to pour 
U.S. divisions waiting in the United 
States, indicated that he would approve 
the operation. On the following day the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff issued a direc- 
tive to General Wilson along the lines of 
the earlier U.S. proposals. The Mediter- 

8 Churchill to Roosevelt, 714, 25 Jun 44; Prime 
Minister to President, 718, 28 Jun 44; Prime Min- 
ister to President, 717, 28 Jun 44. All in OPD Exec 
10, 63c. 

9 President to Prime Minister, 575, 28 Jun 44, OPD 
Exec 10, 63b. A note on the message indicated that 
this was in answer to 714. It would appear to have 
been sent before messages 717 and 718 were received. 
The entire correspondence is summarized in the fol- 
lowing messages from Marshall to^isenhower: W- 
58039, W-58040, W-58041, 29 Jun 44, Eisenhower 
personal file. 

"' Eisenhower to Marshall, S-54760, 29 Jun 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 



THE CAMPAIGN IN SOUTHERN FRANCE 



223 



ranean commander was instructed to 
make every possible effort to launch Anvil 
on a basis of a three-division assault by 14 
August. The SHAEF commander was di- 
rected to release as early as possible the 
additional resources required for Anvil — 
in accordance with agreements already 
concluded with the Mediterranean com- 
mander. 11 

During late June, while the broader 
strategy in the Mediterranean was being 
discussed, representatives of SHAEF and 
AFHQhad worked out details on the re- 
lease of naval support and landing craft as 
well as air strength needed from northwest 
Europe for the Anvil operation. SHAEF, 
hard pressed in matters of supply, won a 
postponement until 15 July of the shifting 
of landing craft requested by AFHQand 
indicated a desire not to release any air- 
craft unless General Wilson considered it 
absolutely necessary. Similar delays were 
requested on the release of warships re- 
quired for Anvil but permitted to be kept 
by SHAEF until after the taking of Cher- 
bourg. Agreements relative to the shift of 
resources for an airborne operation were 
arranged in early July. 12 

As the commander in whose interest the 
landings in the Mediterranean were to be 
launched and as the future chief of the 
forces- participating in Anvil, General 
Eisenhower on 6 July outlined the objec- 
tives of the Anvil operation for General 
Wilson. He described these as (1) contain- 
ing and destroying forces that might 
otherwise oppose Overlord, (2) securing 
a major port in southern France for the 
entry of additional forces, (3) advancing 
northward to threaten enemy flanks and 
communications, and (4) developing lines 
of communications to support Anvil 
forces and later reinforcements. These 
aims could be achieved by securing the 



Marseille area and marching up the 
Rhone to Lyon. General Wilson was to re- 
tain the Anvil command until SHAEF as- 
sumed the responsibility. The Mediter- 
ranean commander was also to have ad- 
ministrative charge of the Anvil forces, 
including civil affairs in the area south 
and east of the departments of Doubs, 
Cote-d'Or, Nievre, Allier, Puy-de-D6me, 
Cantal, Aveyron, Tarn, and Haute- 
Garonne, and be prepared to maintain 
Anvil forces beyond that area if SHAEF 
was unable to do so. In order to insure uni- 
formity in civil affairs policy, General Wil- 
son was asked to administer these matters 
in accordance with SHAEF's interim di- 
rective of 14 May 1944, which had been 
issued to the Mediterranean commander 
as a guide in civil affairs planning for 
southern France. Control of Resistance 
forces in the southern area of France was 
passed to General Wilson, but SHAEF re- 
tained responsibility for co-ordinating Re- 
sistance policy throughout France. 
SHAEF was to supply the Resistance 
forces in the south of France in order to 
develop maximum French aid for Anvil. 
General Eisenhower's headquarters also 
undertook the task of co-ordinating pub- 
licity and psychological warfare in the 
Anvil area. 13 

" Diary Office CinC, 1 Jul 44; CCS to AFHQ, 
COSMED 139, 2 Jul 44, SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Op- 
eration from the Mediterranean in Support of Over- 
lord, II. 

12 SHAEF to CCS, SCAF 54, 26 Jun 44; Memo, 
G-4 SHAEF for CAO, 26 Jun 44; Wilson to Br COS, 
MEDCOS 131,24 Jun 44 ; Mtg, SHAEF, 26 Jun 44, 
relative to release of forces from Overlord for Medi- 
terranean; ANCXF to NCWTF, 27 Jun 44; 
COMNAVEU to SHAEF, 19 Jun 44; ANCXF to 
SHAEF, 20 Jun 44; outgoing msg, COMNAVEU, 22 
Jun 44; Memo for CofS, sgd Moore, 22 Jun 44. All in 
SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediter- 
ranean in Support of Overlord, II. 

13 SHAEF to AFHQ, S-55130, 6 Jul 44, SHAEF 
SGS 370.2/2 Operation from the Mediterranean in 
Support of Overlord, II. 



224 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



General Wilson accepted most of the 
suggestions outlined by the Supreme Com- 
mander, but emphasized that his supply 
services were prepared only to support an 
advance 225 miles from the invasion area 
and would have to have additional out- 
side aid if further demands were made on 
them. Besides preparing the Anvil opera- 
tion, General Wilson intended to press the 
attack in Italy to seize the line of the Po 
and then advance north of that river to se- 
cure the line Venice-Padua- Verona- 
Brescia. 14 

Meanwhile, the British Chiefs of Staff 
continued their opposition to Anvil. Lest 
there be any doubt as to their attitude, 
they cabled Washington on 12 July that 
neither His Majesty's Government nor the 
British Chiefs of Staff considered Opera- 
tion Anvil the "correct strategy" for the 
Allies, and that they had given way only 
to dispel the view that the British were 
using delaying tactics to gain their point. 
They assured the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, 
however, that having accepted the deci- 
sion they would do their utmost to make 
it work. Mr. Churchill wrote along a simi- 
lar line to Mr. Hopkins on 19 July, saying: 
"We have submitted under protest to the 
decision of the United States Chiefs of 
Staff even in a theatre where we have been 
accorded the right to nominate the Su- 
preme Commander. You can be sure we 
shall try our best to make the operation a 
success. I only hope it will not ruin greater 
projects." 15 

Mr. Churchill apparently by early July 
had given up hope of shifting the Allied 
effort from southern France. However, 
after the breakout in Normandy he cabled 
the President that, since the course of 
events in Normandy and Brittany had 
given good prospects that the whole of the 
Brittany peninsula would soon be in Al- 



lied hands, they should consider switching 
Anvil "into the main and vital theatre 
where it can immediately play the part at 
close quarters in the great and victorious 
battles in which we are now engaged." ie 
He threw out the suggestion that they 
might find some point from St. Nazaire 
northward along the Brittany peninsula 
already liberated by U.S. troops where a 
landing could be made. The divisions as- 
signed to Anvil/Dragoon could thus be 
brought in rapidly and sent into battle by 
the shortest route across France. The 
President, who had been absent since mid- 
July on a trip which took him to Pearl 
Harbor, apparently made no immediate 
reply, and Mr. Churchill next expressed 
his fears to Mr. Hopkins. The latter felt 
that supply problems involved in shifting 
the landings to the Brittany peninsula were 
insurmountable, and that the President 
would not agree to a change. Hopkins be- 
lieved that the attack from the south 
would go much more quickly than ex- 
pected and that "a tremendous victory" 
was in store for the Allies. The President 
shortly afterward sent a similar message, 
giving as his considered opinion: "Anvil 
should be launched as planned at the ear- 
liest practicable date and I have full con- 
fidence that it will be successful and of 

14 Wilson to Eisenhower, F-69283, 6 Jul 44; Wilson 
to Eisenhower, FX 69883, 8 Jul 44; Wilson to Br 
COS, FX 69815, 8Jul 44. All in SHAEF SGS 370.2/2 
Operation from the Mediterranean in Support of 
Overlord, II. 

15 Br COS to JSM, 1 2 Jul 44, Eisenhower per- 
sonal file; Prime Minister to Hopkins, 19 Jul 44, OPD 
Exec 10, 63b. 

" Mr. Churchill actually used the new code name 
Dragoon which had been chosen for Anvil a few 
days before. Such changes were frequently made in 
the name of an operation in the fear that the original 
had become known to the enemy. In order to avoid 
confusion for the^ reader, the term Anvil/Dragoon 
will hereafter be used except in the case of direct 
quotations. 



THE CAMPAIGN IN SOUTHERN FRANCE 



225 



great assistance to Eisenhower in driving 
the Hun from France." 17 

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister made a 
final effort to change the views of the Su- 
preme Commander. On 5 August, Mr. 
Churchill, meeting with General Eisen- 
hower and Admirals Cunningham, Ram- 
say, and William G. Tennant, had warned 
of the great opportunity which would be 
missed if the Anvil/Dragoon forces were 
not moved from the Toulon area to Brest, 
Lorient, St. Nazaire, or perhaps even the 
Channel ports. Admiral Cunningham 
supported the Prime Minister against 
General Eisenhower, who was backed by 
Admirals Ramsay and Tennant. Holding 
the view that sound strategy required the 
Allies to force the Germans to fight on the 
maximum number of fronts, General 
Eisenhower adhered to the original plan. 
To make certain that no doubt existed as 
to his position, the Supreme Commander 
cabled Washington that he would not 
"under any conditions agree at this mo- 
ment to a cancellation of Dragoon." Gen- 
eral Wilson also struck a blow at the 
Prime Minister's arguments at this point 
when he reported that, even though the 
French forces could be diverted to the 
Brittany ports without difficulty, the U.S. 
forces had started loading and any change 
would lead to delay. 18 

Despite these statements, the Prime 
Minister took up the question again with 
General Eisenhower in several interviews 
which proved unusually trying for the 
Supreme Commander. On 9 August, in a 
meeting at 10 Downing Street described 
by General Eisenhower as one of the most 
difficult sessions in which he engaged dur- 
ing the war, the Prime Minister pressed 
his point. Intimating that the United 
States was taking the role of "a big strong 
and dominating partner" rather than at- 



tempting to understand the British posi- 
tion, the Prime Minister expressed his 
concern at the apparent indifference of the 
United States toward the Italian cam- 
paign. 151 Obviously "stirred, upset and 
even despondent," Mr. Churchill seemed 
to feel that the success of his whole admin- 
istration would be involved in the failure 
to push General Alexander's drive to the 
north. General Eisenhower suggested that 
if Mr. Churchill had political reasons for 
backing a campaign into the Balkans he 
should take up the matter with President 
Roosevelt. The Supreme Commander was 
willing to change his plan of campaign if 
political considerations were to be para- 
mount; on military grounds alone he felt 
he could not yield. Mr. Churchill con- 
tinued to press his case. These arguments, 
however painful to General Eisenhower, 
did not change his views, and he again as- 
sured the War Department of his strong 
opposition to "a cancellation or a major 
modification of Dragoon." 20 

With this new evidence that the United 
States would not yield, the British Chiefs 
of Staff on 10 August notified General 
Wilson that he was to proceed with 



17 Br COS to JSM, 5 Aug 44, Eisenhower personal 
file. Prime Minister to President, 742, 4 Aug 44; Hop- 
kins to Prime Minister (given in Memo for SGS, 
7 Aug 44); President to Prime Minister, 596, 7 Aug 
44; Prime Minister to President, 7 Aug 44. All in 
OPD Exec 10, 63b. Summaries of three messages 
given in Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins, pp. 810, 
812-13. 

18 Butcher, My Three Years With Eisenhower , p. 635; 
Eisenhower to Marshall, FWD-12612, 5 Aug 44, 
Eisenhower personal file; Wilson to CCS, FX 79468, 
5 Aug 44, AFHQ file; Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, 
pp. 281-84. 

19 The quoted words are General Eisenhower's 
paraphrase. 

20 Eisenhower to Marshall, 9 and 1 1 Aug 44, Eisen- 
hower personal file. Butcher, My Three Tears With 
Eisenhower , p. 639, and Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, 
pp. 281-84, reconstruct parts of the conversation. 



226 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 




CAMPAIGN IN SOUTHERN FRANCE j 

15 August - 15 September 1944 

^ | Main axis of advance, Seventh Armv 
i IIII M IIII Third Army front, 15 September 
r— , r— , German front, elems 19th Army, 15 Sep 

Contact points, rcn elems Third and 

Seventh Armies , 12 September 

Shaded area ■ terrain above 400 meters 
50 100 miles 

50 100 KILOMETERS 

MAP 2 



Anvil/Dragoon as planned, a directive 
which was confirmed by the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff on the following day — only 
four days before the landing. 21 

Deeply distressed by the interview of 9 
August, General Eisenhower attempted to 
reassure the Prime Minister of the good 
faith and good will of the U.S. Chiefs of 
Staff. He denied that there was any intent 
on the part of anyone in the U.S. war ma- 
chine to disregard British views or "cold- 
bloodedly to leave Britain holding an 
empty bag in any of our joint undertak- 
ings." In his concluding paragraphs, he 
stressed the degree of co-operation-which 
had been achieved in the Allied staffs: 

In two years I think we have developed 
such a fine spirit and machinery in our field 
direction that no consideration of British ver- 
sus American interests ever occurs to any of 
the individuals comprising my staff or serv- 
ing as one of my principal commanders. I 
would feel that much of my hard work over 
the past months had been irretrievably lost if 
we now should lose faith in the organisms 
that have given higher direction to our war 
effort, because such lack of faith would 
quickly be reflected in discord in our field 
command. 

During all these months I have leaned on 
you often, and have always looked to you 
with complete confidence when I felt the 
need of additional support. This adds a senti- 
mental to my very practical reasons for hop- 
ing, most earnestly, that' in spite of disap- 
pointment, we will all adhere tenaciously to 
the concepts of control brought forth by the 
President and yourself two and one half years 
ago. 22 

Mr. Churchill quickly set the matter 
right on 15 August with this message: 

Thank you for your kind letter of August 
11. Many congratulations on brilliant opera - 

21 Br COS to AFHQ, 10 Aug 44; CCS to AFHQ, 
1 1 Aug 44. Both in SHAEF cbl log. 

22 Eisenhower to Prime Minister, 11 Aug 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 



THE CAMPAIGN IN SOUTHERN FRANCE 



227 



tions in Anjou and Normandy. There must 
have been a magnificent fight and logistic 
penetration of American turning movement 
will long excite wonder. Every good wish, 23 

The Landings and the Advance 

General Wilson launched the long- 
awaited attack on the southern coast of 
France on 15 August. (Map 2) British, 




GENERAL PATCH 

French, and U.S. forces under Lt. Gen. 
Alexander M. Patch, commander of the 
Seventh U.S. Army, began landing that 
morning against light opposition in the 
area east of Toulon. French forces under 
Gen. Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, com- 
mander of French Army B, landed over 
the U.S. beaches on the second day and 
started their drive for Toulon and Mar- 
seille. General de Lattre commanded the 




GENERAL 
SIGNY 



DE LATTRE DE TAS- 



II French Corps in the assault and was 
subordinated to General Patch. It was un- 
derstood that later he would revert to 
command of the French Army. 2i 

At the time of the landings, Army Group 
G had eleven divisions with which to hold 
France sout h of the Loire. OK W had con- 
sidered withdrawing General Blaskowitz' 
forces to a line nearer to the German bor- 



25 Prime Minister to Eisenhower, 15 Aug 44. Eisen- 
hower personal file. 

2-1 The author has drawn some operational details 
of this chapter from the official history of the cam- 
paign in southern France prepared in the OCMH by 
Maj. James David T. Hamilton. Sec also Report by the 
Supreme Allied Commander Mediterranean to the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff on the Operation in Southern France, August 
1944 (Washington, 1946); Seventh Army Rpt of Opns, 
I; and Gen, Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, llistoirede 
la Premiere Armie Francaise (Parts, 1949). Two im- 
portant German sources are Der Westen (Schramm) 
and MS # T-121 { Zimmerman n et at.). 



228 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



der, but had taken no action when the 
attack came. In the face of a major Al- 
lied offensive, OKW on 17-18 August 
ordered Army Group G to evacuate both the 
Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts except 
for the fortresses and ports. The LXIV 
Corps, which had been in charge of troops 
in southwestern France since First Army 
was withdrawn a few weeks before to build 
up a Seine defense line southeast of Paris, 
formed three march groups and withdrew 
eastward, south of the Loire, toward 
Dijon. Nineteenth Army, meanwhile, re- 
treated northward through the Rhone 
valley toward the Plateau de Langres. 26 

The first two weeks of the Allied attack 
exceeded all expectations as to the speed 
with which the initial objectives were 
seized. The period saw two major ports, 
Toulon and Marseille, opened and more 
than 57,000 prisoners taken at the cost of 
4,000 French and 2,700 American casual- 
ties. The only direct effect of the landings 
on the fortunes of Overlord seems to 
have been the cancellation of movement 
orders for the 338th Division, which was 
already on its way to Normandy. 26 Indi- 
rectly, however, the scattering of enemy 
forces south of the Loire and the approach 
of Allied forces to the 1 2th Army Group's 
right flank meant the strengthening of 
General Eisenhower's position. More im- 
portant to later operations in the north 
was the promise that the opening of Mar- 
seille would provide a new port through 
which men and supplies could be brought 
for a sustained drive into Germany. Gen- 
eral Eisenhower, greatly pleased at the 
success of Anvil/Dragoon, was gratified 
still further when the Prime Minister, who 
had observed the landings, wired: 

I watched this landing yesterday from afar. 
All I have seen there makes me admire 
the perfect precision with which the landing 



was arranged and intimate collaboration of 
British- American forces. 

Mindful of the difficulties which had pre- 
ceded the operation, the Supreme Com- 
mander replied: 

I am delighted to note in your latest tele- 
gram to me that you have personally and 
legally adopted the Dragoon. I am sure that 
he will grow fat and prosperous under your 
watchfulness. If you can guarantee that your 
presence at all such operations will have the 
same effect that it did in this wonderful show 
I will make sure that in my future operations 
in this theater you are given a fleet of your 
own. I hope you will hurry back to us as I 
have many things to talk over with you. With 
warm and respectful regard. Ike. 27 

In early September the U.S. and French 
forces pushed northward toward Lyon 
and Dijon to prevent a junction between 
enemy forces from the south and south- 
west and to bar their escape routes to Ger- 
many. The enemy evacuated Lyon before 
the French and U.S. forces arrived there 
on 3 September, and Dijon fell to the 
French without a fight on the 1 1th. On the 
following day, French forces that had 
pushed beyond Dijon in the direction of 
the Third U.S. Army made a junction 
with Overlord units near Chatilion-sur- 
Seine. 28 

The junction of Allied forces spelled de- 
feat for those enemy forces from south west - 

25 Armeegruppe G (referred to hereafter as Army 
Group G) KTB Mr. 2 and Anlagen 1 .VII-30.IX.44; OB 
WEST, KTB 1.-31.VIII.44; Der Weskn (Schramm); 
OB WEST, A Study in Command (Zimmermann 
et al.), written under the auspices of the Department 
of the Army Historical Division in 1946. 

*<* OB WEST, KTB 1.-3LVIH.44, 15 Aug 44. 

27 Prime Minister to Eisenhower, 18 Aug 44; Eisen- 
hower to Wilson fir Prime Minister, 24 Aug 44. Both 
in Eisenhower personal file. 

' a The time and place of the first meeting like that 
of so many other junctions during the war is a sub- 
ject of some controversy. Individual jeeploads of sol- 
diers and at least one courier plane had sought out 
elements of the other of the approaching forces before 



THE CAMPAIGN IN SOUTHERN FRANCE 



229 



ern France still west of Dijon. Two of the 
three march groups which had started 
from the Atlantic area and other miscel- 
laneous units passed Dijon before that city 
was captured, but the third unit, Group 
Elster, some 20,000 strong, including ele- 
ments of the 159th Division and a large 
number of noncombatant personnel (ad- 
ministrative personnel, Wehrmacht civil- 
ian personnel, auxiliary workers), pro- 
ceeded more slowly and was cut off by the 
junction at Chatillon-sur-Seine. Contin- 
ually harassed by the French Forces of the 
Interior and the XIX Tactical Air Com- 
mand and cut off from Germany by the 
Third Army's advance, this group began 
negotiations for capitulation on 10 Sep- 
tember and formally surrendered on the 
16th. The final honor of accepting the 
surrender went to the Ninth U.S. Army, 
which had recently been assigned the 
Third Army's sector along the Loire. In 
recognition of the role played by the air 
forces in protecting the Allied right flank 
and in forcing the enemy surrender, the 
Ninth Army commander invited the com- 
manding general of the XIX Tactical Air 
Command to take part in the cere- 
monies. 2 " 

Upon the link-up of General Eisen- 
hower's forces with those advancing from 
the south, the direction of the French at- 
tack was changed to conform to the Su- 
preme Commander's original views. The 

11 French Corps suspended its advance 
northward and regrouped its forces be- 
tween VI U.S. Corps (Lt. Gen. Lucian K. 

12 September, and reconnaissance elements of the 
Overlord and Anvil/dragoon forces had met at 
Sombernon on the evening of 10-11 September. 
Seventh Army Rpt of Opns, I, 271-72; TUSA AAR, 
I, 69. Report by the Supreme Allied Commander Mediter- 
ranean prefers 1 1 September as the date of meeting; 
de Lattre, Histoire de la Premiere Armee Frangaise, pp. 
161-62, accepts the 12 September date. 



Truscott) and the I French Corps. The 
U.S. forces seized Vesoul on 13 Septem- 
ber, thus blocking the last escape route to 
Belfort in the U.S. zone. On 16 September 
General Truscott's corps occupied Lure 
and Luxeuil-les-Bains, which controlled 
two other important corridors to Ger- 
many, but was not in time to catch the 
main body of enemy forces. The U.S. di- 
visions, as a result of supply shortages and 
stiffening enemy resistknce, how came al- 
most to a halt some fifteen miles short of 
the Moselle while awaiting relief by the II 
French Corps and the general regrouping 
of Allied forces. 

On 15 September a major change in 
command had been made. By agreement 
between General Eisenhower and General 
Wilson, the forces from the Mediterranean 
passed to SHAEF control and were placed 
under the 6th Army Group (Lt. Gen. 
Jacob L. Devers) which became opera- 
tional on that date. Control of French 
Army B, soon to be named First French 
Army, was given to 6th Army Group. 

In the month which had passed since 
Allied forces stormed ashore in southern 
France, the forces of General Patch and 
General de Lattre had swept westward 
from the It beaches to Avignon and 
northward up the Rhone valley for a dis- 
tance of more than 400 air-line miles. 
Their rapid advance had forced the en- 
emy to evacuate France south of the Loire, 
except for a few ports, and had inflicted 
heavy losses on Army Group G. Some con- 
solation for the Germans remained in the 
fact that General Blaskowitz' skillful han- 
dling of the retreat had saved more than 
half of his forces. Despite this action, he 

29 OB WEST, A Study in Command (Zimmer- 
mann et al.); OB WEST KTB 1.-30.IX.44, 5 and 9 
Sep 44; Conquer: The Story of Ninth Army, 1944-45 
(Washington, 1947), pp. 47-50; TUSA AAR, I, 50. 



230 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



was replaced on 2 1 September by General 
der Panzertruppen Hermann Balck, then 
commander of the Fourth Panzer Army on 
the Eastern Front. Army Group G, to which 
the Fifth Panzer Army had been transferred 
in the hope that it could deliver a counter- 
attack against the Third Army from the 
Plateau de Langres, by mid-September 
took up the protection of the left wing of 
the German line north of the Swiss border. 
The Fifth Panzer Army and part of the First 



Army were committed against the Third 
U.S. Army, and the battered Nineteenth 
Army was given the task of opposing the 
French and U.S. forces under General 
Devers. 30 



30 Fifth Panzer Army was taken out of the line on 
6 September 1944 and attached directly to OB 
WEST; on 1 1 September 1944 it was assigned to 
Army Group G. First Army was transferred from Army 
Group B to Army Group G on 8 September 1944. 



CHAPTER XIII 



Relations With the French, 
June-September 1944 



The Supreme Commander had become 
painfully aware, long before D Day, that 
smooth relations with General de Gaulle 
and the French Committee of National 
Liberation were of critical importance to 
Allied operations. Involved in this ques- 
tion were such matters as the administra- 
tion of civil affairs in liberated France, the 
command of French Resistance forces, 
and the establishment of a provisional 
government in Paris after its liberation. 
General Eisenhower was concerned, there- 
fore, with Allied efforts to establish a 
working arrangement with the French 
Committee. 

Civil Affairs 

Civil affairs activities in France during 
the first phase of operations were under 
the general control of the 21 Army 
Group. 1 Not until the activation of a U.S. 
army group did SHAEF assume direct re- 
sponsibility for these operations in the 
field. During the first weeks of the inva- 
sion, therefore, many of the decisions rela- 
tive to the re-establishment of civil affairs 
administration in Normandy were han- 
dled directly at 2 1 Army Group. The fact 
that the British Government was more in- 
clined to recognize the French Committee 
than was the United States may have sim- 



plified the task of General Montgomery's 
officers in dealing with the Gaullist repre- 
sentatives in Normandy. 

In those civil affairs problems which 
required decisions at governmental levels, 
SHAEF was involved directly — the more 
so in cases that meant any implied recog- 
nition of the sovereignty of the French 
Committee, particularly in those instances 
where the Foreign Office and the State 
Department appeared willing to go far- 
ther than the President toward co-opera- 
tion with de Gaulle. Where the matter 
affected military operations, the Supreme 
Commander was sometimes approached 
in the hope that he could help in finding a 
working solution to the problem. 

An example of the type of case which 
came to General Eisenhower's attention 
was that relating to the issuance of inva- 
sion currency to Allied troops. Like many 
other French civil affairs questions this 
had been discussed by French and Allied 
representatives since 1943, and had 
bogged down, on the issue of the sov- 
ereignty of the French Committee. In an 
effort to avoid depreciating French cur- 
rency by issuing yellow-seal dollars and 
British Military Authority notes to the 
troops, as in Italy, the British and U.S. au- 



1 See above, p. 83. 



232 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



thorities arranged in December 1943 to 
print special invasion money in Washing- 
ton for the use of the armies. Before this 
could be done, the British Ambassador 
"unexpectedly" notified the State Depart- 
ment that his government preferred a 
French national currency issued by the 
French Committee of National Libera- 
tion. The immediate effect was to delay 
any decision on the issue for a number of 
weeks. To bring the matter to a head, the 
British Secretary of State for War, Sir 
James Grigg, appealed to General Eisen- 
hower at the end of January 1944, remind- 
ing him that currency was "a vital if unin- 
teresting necessity to successful opera- 
tions." 2 If General Eisenhower had ever 
doubted the necessity of settling such 
problems promptly, he had sufficient 
reason to change his mind when they con- 
tinued to reappear in the spring and sum- 
mer of 1944. 

In early May, General Eisenhower for- 
warded to Washington proposals based on 
preliminary discussions with the French 
Military Mission in London regarding the 
whole financial situation in France. After 
a period of three weeks, having received 
no direction on the problem, he proposed 
as "a solution of desperation" to issue a 
proclamation declaring the supplemental 
francs legal tender. The Supreme Com- 
mander and his chief of staff doubted their 
legal right to issue such a proclamation 
and feared it would be considered a fla- 
grant violation of French sovereignty, but 
they felt they would have to take such ac- 
tion unless they received other instructions 
by 28 May. 

Before this second proposal was re- 
ceived, General Eisenhower's program of 
early May had been approved in principle 
at "the highest American level," subject to 
certain specified conditions, and passed 



on to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for 
study. Among these conditions were the 
following: arrangements made with the 
French Committee of National Liberation 
must not preclude consultation with or the 
reception of aid from other representatives 
of the French people; authority for issuing 
supplemental francs belonged to SHAEF, 
and any statement of the French Commit- 
tee of National Liberation would merely 
be a supporting announcement. 3 

No agreement had been reached with 
the French by the time General de Gaulle 
reached London shortly before D Day. He 
was dissatisfied when he found that limited 
quantities of supplemental francs in small 
denominations had actually been given to 
British and U.S. soldiers in the assault 
units, and that larger quantities were 
ready when needed to supplement the five 
and one-half billion metropolitan francs 
put at the disposal of Allied forces by the 
War Office. His anger at this assumption 
of what he considered to be a prerogative 
of the French Committee of National Lib- 
eration apparently influenced him to for- 
bid the 180 French liaison officers trained 
for civil affairs duties to sail with the as- 
sault units on D Day. He finally relented 
sufficiently to permit twenty liaison officers 
to accompany Allied troops. 4 

President Roosevelt's announcement on 
9 June that General de Gaulle would be 
welcome in Washington for a visit in late 



2 Grigg to Eisenhower, 27 Jan 44; Hilldring to 
Barker, 17 Dec 43; CCS to Eisenhower, 31 Jan 44. 
All in SHAEF SGS 123 Invasion Currency, I. 

3 Eisenhower to CCS for CCAC, VOG 32, 4 May 
44; Eisenhower to CCS for CCAC, VOG 53, 25 May 
44; Smith to McCloy, S-52510, 25 May 44; Hilldring 
to Holmes, 41408, 25 May 44 (written on 25 May, 
but not sent until the following day), SHAEF SGS 
1 23 Invasion Currency, I. 

4 New York Times, June 8, 1944; Eisenhower to 
CCS, VOG 65, 9Jun 44, SHAEF SGS 123 Invasion 
Currency, I. 



RELATIONS WITH THE FRENCH 



233 



June or early July raised some hope for an 
early agreement on currency and other 
questions. General de Gaulle dashed this 
hope almost immediately by his statement 
that no agreement existed between the 
French Committee and the United States 
and Great Britain regarding French co- 
operation in the administration of liber- 
ated France. He feared that General 
Eisenhower's address and proclamation to 
the French, which made no mention of 
General de Gaulle and the French Com- 
mittee of National Liberation, foreshad- 
owed "a sort of taking over of power in 
France by the Allies' military command." 
He warned that "the issuance of a so- 
called French currency in France without 
any agreement and without any guarantee 
from the French authority can lead only 
to serious complications," 5 

Mr. Churchill promptly urged Presi- 
dent Roosevelt to make a decision on the 
currency question. While the Prime Min- 
ister did not believe that General de 
Gaulle would brand the invasion francs 
as counterfeit, as he was rumored to be 
ready to do, he feared that the Allies faced 
the alternatives of permitting de Gaulle to 
obtain new status as the price for backing 
the notes or of themselves guaranteeing 
the money. The President, with the tone of 
irritation he frequently showed where de 
Gaulle was concerned, suggested telling 
the French general that, if the French peo- 
ple would not accept the invasion cur- 
rency, General Eisenhower would be 
authorized to use British Military Au- 
thority money and yellow-seal dollars. 
Therefore, if General de Gaulle encour- 
aged the French to refuse invasion money, 
he would be responsible for the certain 
depreciation of the franc which would fol- 
low. The President opposed any effort to 
press General de Gaulle for a statement 



supporting the new currency, but agreed 
that, if he wanted to issue something on his 
individual responsibility, he could put his 
signature on any currency statement "in 
any capacity that he desires, even to that 
of the King of Siarn," 6 

The Allied press widely reported Gen- 
eral de Gaulle's angry statements over 
invasion currency and his action relative 
to French liaison officers and apparently 
greatly exaggerated the difficulties which 
existed between the invasion forces and 
the French Committee. Some members of 
the Foreign Office pressed for a policy of 
greater co-operation with the committee. 
The U.S. Chiefs of Staff, who had gone to 
Europe on 9 June to visit the new beach- 
head and discuss further policy, became 
alarmed over the situation. They notified 
the President that, although he had the 
support of the Prime Minister on the 
French question, this was one matter on 
which Mr. Churchill could not dominate 
the Foreign Office or the Cabinet. The 
U.S. Chiefs considered the French situa- 
tion unhappy at best and potentially 
dangerous in view of its possible effect on 
the French Resistance forces. 7 

Meanwhile, a 2 1 Army Group liaison 
officer reported a satisfactory situation in 
the British beachhead. The invasion cur- 
rency was being accepted, and for the 
most part an enthusiastic welcome greeted 
the Allied forces. The liaison officer con- 
cluded from discussions with people in the 
area that the average man looked to 
de Gaulle "as the natural and inevitable 



5 New York Times, July 10, 1 1, 1944. 

6 Prime Minister to President, 686, 9 Jun 44; Prime 
Minister to President, 696, 10 Jun 44; Paraphrase of 
Msg, President to Prime Minister, 12 Jun 44, cited in 
Hilldring to Holmes, W-50351,. 13 Jun 44. All in 
SHAEF SGS 123 Invasion Currency, I. 

' Marshall, King, and Arnold to President, 
S-53809, 14 Jun 44, Eisenhower personal file. 



234 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



leader of Free France." They were not 
clear, he added, as to whether or not they 
regarded de Gaulle as the head of a pro- 
visional government, but he was certain 
that if the general landed as head of such 
a government he would be accepted, 8 

The President, while not inclined to do 
any favors for de Gaulle, was willing to 
make full use of any organization or influ- 
ence the general had which would aid the 
Allied military effort, provided the result 
was not to impose the French Committee 
on the French people by force of U.S. and 
British arms. General Marshall received 
this assurance in London about the time 
General de Gaulle was visiting Bayeux 
and Isigny and receiving a noisy welcome. 
By 16 June when the French chief re- 
turned to Algiers, he had strengthened his 
position with the French people in the lib- 
erated areas and with the British Govern- 
ment. Apparently aware of reports that 
the Prime Minister was under pressure to 
ask for outright recognition of the French 
Committee as the provisional government 
of France, de Gaulle left M. Pierre Vienot 
and several assistants behind to discuss 
civil affairs problems with British repre- 
sentatives. These officials opened negotia- 
tions on a civil affairs agreement similar to 
that concluded with Belgium before the 
invasion. 9 

Feeling certain of support in British and 
U.S. political circles as well as among mili- 
tary authorities on the beachhead, Gen- 
eral de Gaulle spoke confidently in his 
address to the French Consultative As- 
sembly at Algiers on 18 June. Speaking on 
the anniversary of the date he called the 
French people to arms in 1940, he stressed 
the efforts which the French had already 
personally expended for their liberation. 
Casting a glance at the British and U.S. 
Governments, he noted that France, hav- 



ing had long experience with other coun- 
tries, knew that foreign support would 
sometimes be given hesitantly, and that 
France's friends, however numerous, 
would not always give free and immediate 
aid. He informed the assembly of the 
steps he had taken to establish the com- 
mittee's authority in liberated France. 
M. Francois Coulet had already assumed 
the office of Commissioner of the Republic 
for the Region of Normandy, thus becom- 
ing the representative of the committee in 
liberated areas with general administra- 
tive authority over prefectural, subprefec- 
tural, and municipal authorities. Coulet 
was directly responsible to General Roe- 
nig, but had the right of direct appeal to 
London or Algiers. Col. Pierre de Che- 
vigne, another supporter of the committee, 
was territorial military governor of the 
subregion of Rouen. General de Gaulle 
further assured the assembly that General 
Koenig as commander of French forces 
under General Eisenhower conserved all 
the rights of recourse to French national 
authority that any other national com- 
mander had under an interallied system. 
He praised the strategic understanding of 
General Eisenhower "in whom the French 
Government had complete confidence for 
the victorious conduct of the common 
military operations." 10 

The tribute to General Eisenhower in a 



8 Lt Col D. R. Ellias, Preliminary Report on Re- 
connaissance of British Beachhead, 9-12 Jun 44, 
SHAEF SGS 014 France (Oct 43- Aug 44), Civil 
Affairs Dir for France, I. 

9 Notes on de Gaulle visit, 14 Jun 44; Roosevelt to 
Marshall, 14 Jun 44. Both in SHAEF SGS 092 
France, French Relations, II. Holmes to McCloy, 
S-54099, 18 Jun 44; Holmes to McCloy, S-54530, 23 
Jun 44. Both in Eisenhower personal file. 

10 Text of addresses to Consultative Assembly on 
18 and 26 June 1944, de Gaulle, Discours et Messages, 
pp. 444-50; Smith to Hilldring, 4 Jul 44, SHAEF 
Civil Affairs CCS Dirs. 



RELATIONS WITH THE FRENCH 



235 



speech underlining French sovereignty 
indicated a willingness on the part of Gen- 
eral de Gaulle to help prepare a favorable 
atmosphere for the talks he was to have 
with President Roosevelt in July. SHAEF 
representatives attempted in the mean- 
time to conclude directly with General 
Koenig a working agreement on supple- 
mental francs until a formal financial 
agreement could be made. On 4 July, 
General Smith informed the War Depart- 
ment of General Koenig's assurance that 
supplemental francs would be accepted 
even for taxes. The liaison officer problem 
had also been straightened out to a con- 
siderable extent. French military tactical 
liaison officers were attached to Allied 
army groups, corps, and divisions, and 
French administrative liaison officers were 
assigned to the French civil administra- 
tion for civil affairs liaison between their 
various offices and the Allied forces. Gen- 
eral Smith was especially pleased about 
the excellent relations that existed be- 
tween the Allied commanders and General 
Koenig. 11 

General de Gaulle, accompanied by 
Gen. Emile Bethouart, French Chief of 
Staff, M. Gaston Palewski, Chief of the 
Civil Cabinet, and MM. Herve Alphand 
and Jacques Paris of the French Foreign 
Office, arrived in Washington on 6 July. 
Both the President and the general made 
efforts to be affable, and their representa- 
tives set about arranging a satisfactory set- 
tlement of their differences. On 8 July, the 
State, War, and Treasury Departments 
sent a memorandum to the President sug- 
gesting that a civil affairs agreement simi- 
lar to those concluded with Belgium, the 
Netherlands, and Norway be signed with 
the French Committee of National Liber- 
ation. The President informed the press on 
1 1 July that the United States had 



decided to consider the committee the 
dominant political authority of France 
until elections could be held to determine 
the will of the French people. The door 
was left open, however, for other groups in 
France to present conflicting claims to 
authority, with the understanding that the 
Supreme Commander, under his power to 
maintain peaceful relations in a military 
area, could make final decisions. Some 
press observers saw little change in this 
from the pre-D-Day state of affairs, except 
in the trend toward cordiality, but it was 
generally recognized that the situation 
had improved. General de Gaulle, on 
leaving Washington, expressed satisfaction 
with the talks he had held with the Presi- 
dent. Lest there be any doubt of his inten- 
tion to conserve the sovereignty of France, 
however, he declared in Ottawa on 1 1 
July that it would be not only an error but 
an impossibility to exclude France from 
her true place among the great nations of 
the world. 12 

Some delays yet remained before the 
civil affairs agreements drafted separately 
in London and Washington could be con- 
cluded with the French. The Allies were 
to reach Paris before General Eisenhower 
and General Koenig signed them. How- 
ever, the talks in Washington, as well as 
the friendly relationships between Gen- 
erals Eisenhower and Smith and General 
Koenig, helped to mitigate a portion of the 
difficulties that existed in June. Improvised 
arrangements, already in effect in Nor- 

11 Smith to Hilldring, 4 Jul 44, SHAEF Civil 
Affairs CCS Dirs. 

12 Holmes, WD, to Smith, 8 Jul 44, SHAEF Civil 
Affairs CCS Dirs; Interview with press, 10 July 1944, 
in de Gaulle, Discours et Messages; New York Times, 
July 6-13, 1944; John J. McCloy, ASW, to Stimson 
(giving the text of messagefrom Roosevelt to a Cer- 
tain Naval Person [Churchill] in which the President 
informed Churchill of his decision), Diary Office 
CinC, 1 1 Jul 44. 



236 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



mandy before the talks began, continued 
to work until more formal agreements 
could be put into effect. 

Command of French Resistance Forces 

The Supreme Commander instituted a 
major change in the command organiza- 
tion of the French Forces of the Interior 
shortly after D Day, not only to satisfy the 
French desire to exercise control over Re- 
sistance forces, but also to insure effective 
support of Allied operations by these units. 
General Koenig, commander of the 
French forces in the United Kingdom, had 
asked for such a command reorganization 
shortly before D Day. He pointed out that 
for almost four years the Resistance forces 
of France had carried on their work while 
the French headquarters in Great Britain 
had no share in the control of such activ- 
ities. With D Day in sight and the pros- 
pect of the movement of thousands of 
French patriots toward the beachhead 
area, the French Committee of National 
Liberation wanted General Koenig to or- 
ganize a headquarters of the French 
Forces of the Interior under the Supreme 
Commander to control these Resistance 
forces. General Koenig asked that all 
agencies dealing with the activities of the 
French Forces of the Interior be brought 
under one headquarters and that a French 
commander be appointed under the Su- 
preme Commander to head the group. 13 

On 2 June, General Whiteley of 
SHAEF and General Koenig reached 
agreement, subject to General Eisen- 
hower's concurrence, that Koenig would 
assume command of the French Forces of 
the Interior and act under the instructions 
of the Supreme Commander. The French 
general was to issue his directives through 
Special Force Headquarters. In addition, 
a tripartite regional staff under Colonel 



Vernon (Colonel Vernon's real name was 
Jean Ziegler) was set up within Special 
Force Headquarters to deal with all mat- 
ters pertaining to France. The French 
Committee of National Liberation 
promptly approved these arrangements 
and announced that the French Forces of 
the Interior consisted of all fighting or 
service units participating in the fight 
against the enemy on home territory. The 
committee added that these forces were an 
integral part of the French Army and en- 
titled to all the rights and privileges of 
regular soldiers. 14 

SHAEF issued General Koenig's direc- 
tive as commander of French Forces of the 
Interior on 17 June. On the basic consid- 
eration that the French Forces of the 
Interior were to furnish maximum support 
to Allied operations on the Continent, the 
Supreme Commander directed General 
Koenig to delay the concentration of 
enemy forces in Normandy and Brittany 
by ( 1 ) impeding the movement of German 
reserves, (2) disrupting enemy lines of 
communications and rear areas, and (3) 
compelling the enemy to maintain large 
forces in his rear areas to contain resist- 
ance. General Eisenhower instructed 
Allied ground force commanders to ask for 
Resistance help in normal tactical oper- 
ations according to priorities set by 
operational requirements. The initial 
efforts were to be aimed at the Normandy 
bridgehead and Brittany to delay or pre- 
vent the movement of enemy formations 
to these areas. Later, Resistance forces 
were to concentrate on other parts of 

13 Koenig to Smith, 24 May 44, sub: Organization 
of Comd of FFI, SHAEF SGS 322 FFI, Command 
and Control of French Forces of the Interior. 

14 Smith to Koenig, 31 May 44; Koenig to Smith, 
9 Jun 44; Proclamation of French Republic Provi- 
sional Government, 9 Jun 44; Smith to Koenig, 12 
Jun 44. All in SHAEF SGS 322 FFI, Command and 
Control of French Forces of the Interior. 



RELATIONS WITH THE FRENCH 



237 



France. The third priority was given to at- 
tacks on the enemy telecommunication 
system. 15 

General Eisenhower regularized the 
status of General Koenig on 23 June by 
announcing that the latter commanded 
the French Forces of the Interior with the 
status of any Allied commander serving 
under General Eisenhower. It was Gen- 
eral Koenig's duty, consonant with the 
obligations of senior American and British 
commanders, to indicate if orders given 
him were "in serious conflict" with those 
issued by the French Committee of Na- 
tional Liberation. In such a case, it was 
the duty and prerogative of General 
Koenig to refer the matter to Algiers for 
policy guidance. 16 

The Supreme Commander indicated in 
July that Koenig would gradually relieve 
the Special Force Headquarters of its re- 
sponsibilities in connection with French 
Resistance, and that SHAEF and Special 
Force Headquarters would aid him in 
working out a program for taking over 
these responsibilities. The shift was de- 
layed, however, and not until 21 August 
was the staff of the French Forces of the 
Interior integrated in accordance with 
SHAEF's directive of 1 August. Maj. Gen. 
Harold Redman and Col. Joseph F. Has- 
kell were appointed as deputies to General 
Koenig. Special Force Headquarters, Spe- 
cial Force detachments with army groups 
and armies, and a number of the Allied 
planning sections for Resistance opera- 
tions were transferred to General Koenig's 
headquarters. 17 

Activities of French Resistance 
June-August 1944 

Long before control over French Re- 
sistance forces passed to General Koenig, 
those elements had proved their worth to 



the Supreme Commander's forces in 
France. At SHAEF's direction Special 
Force Headquarters on the night of 5-6 
June ordered Resistance groups in France 
to put into effect D-Day plans for general 
harassing action and sabotage of railroads, 
highways, and telecommunications. Rail 
lines were damaged or destroyed in parts 
of northeast and southeast France. French 
partisans rendered valuable aid in delay- 
ing the movement of German units to the 
beachhead, particularly in the case of an 
armored division which was forced to take 
twelve days for its move from Toulouse to 
the beachhead. By the end of June, Spe- 
cial Force Headquarters declared that the 
results had "far surpassed" those generally 
expected. Whenever sufficiently armed, 
these forces had "displayed unity in action 
and a high fighting spirit." In Brittany, 
the French Forces of the Interior, strength- 
ened by elements flown in from the United 
Kingdom, were speedily organized. They 
proved of great value in the early weeks of 
the invasion in furnishing information on 
enemy activities in this area to Allied in- 
telligence units. In southeast France, the 
Resistance forces were particularly strong. 
By early July they controlled almost 
wholly the Vercors area and the eastern 
portion of the department of Ain, had a 
strong measure of authority in the depart- 
ments of Indr.e, Haute-Vienne, and 
northern Dordogne, and were strong 



15 SHAEF Dir to.Gen Koenig, 17 Jun 44, SHAEF 
SGS 322 FFI, Command and Control of the French 
Forces of the Interior. 

16 SHAEF Dir, 23 Jun 44, sub: Designation of 
Comdr of FFI, SHAEF SGS 322 FFI, Command and 
Control of the French Forces of the Interior. 

17 Notes of decisions made at mtg held at SHAEF, 
Whiteley, Koenig, etal., 10 Jul 44, SHAEF SGS 322 
FFI, Command and Control of French Forces of the 
Interior; SHAEF Dir to Koenig, 1 Aug 44; SHAEF 
G-3 Memo, 21 Aug 44, sub: Formation of Etat- 
Major FFI, SHAEF G-3 322-8 Operational Dir to 
SFHQ. 



238 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



enough to hold specific positions for day- 
light drops of arms or troops in the Massif 
Central, Vosges, Morvan, Jura, and 
Savoie. 18 

In July the Resistance forces intensified 
their attacks on enemy rail movements. 
They carried on their chief activity against 
the enemy in Normandy south of the 
beachhead, in the Rhone valley, against 
lines of communications through the Tou- 
louse Gap, and in the Paris-Orleans Gap. 
They had enlarged their control in the 
south of France to include parts of the 
Saone-et-Loire, Cantal, Gard, and the 
eastern parts of the Isere, Hautes-Alpes, 
and Basses- Alpes, but a violent German 
counterattack in the Vercors had dispersed 
the Resistance forces in that area. Special 
Force Headquarters estimated that by the 
end of July there were 70,000 armed Re- 
sistants in the south of France. In Brittany, 
these forces worked directly with U.S. 
units after the Allied breakout in late July. 
In Belgium during the same period, Re- 
sistance forces attacked railroads which 
could bring troops and supplies to Ger- 
mans in northern France. Their work was 
hampered by their shortage of supplies, 
since only two planeloads were dropped in 
July. SHAEF approved plans for overt 
action in the Ardennes during the month. 19 

In Brittany, southern France, and the 
area of the Loire and Paris, French Resist- 
ance forces greatly aided the pursuit to the 
Seine in August. Specifically, they sup- 
ported the Third Army in Brittany and 
the Seventh U.S. and First French Armies 
in the southern beachhead and the Rhone 
valley. In the advance to the Seine, the 
French Forces of the Interior helped pro- 
tect the southern flank of the Third Army 
by interfering with enemy railroad and 
highway movements and enemy telecom- 
munications, by developing open resist- 
ance on as wide a scale as possible, by 



providing tactical intelligence, by preserv- 
ing installations of value to the Allied 
forces, and by mopping up bypassed 
enemy positions. Reporting on the work 
of these forces in Brittany, General Eisen- 
hower later declared: 

Special mention must be made of the great 
assistance given us by the F.F.I, in the task of 
reducing Brittany. The overt resistance forces 
in this area had been built up since June 
around a core of S. A.S. troops of the French 
4th Parachute Battalion to a total strength of 
some 30,000 men. On the night of 4/5 Au- 
gust the Etat-Major was dispatched to take 
charge of their operations. As the Allied 
columns advanced, these French forces am- 
bushed the retreating enemy, attacked 
isolated groups and strongpoints, and pro- 
tected bridges from destruction. When our 
armor had swept past them they were given 
the task of clearing up the localities where 
pockets of Germans remained, and of keep- 
ing open the Allied lines of communication. 
They also provided our troops with invalu- 
able assistance in supplying information of 
the enemy's dispositions and intentions. Not 
least in importance, they had, by their cease- 
less harassing activities, surrounded the Ger- 
mans with a terrible atmosphere of danger 
and hatred which ate into the confidence of 
the leaders and the courage of the soldiers. 20 

The Resistance forces interfered with 
the enemy retreat through the Rhone val- 
ley by denying him use of some of the rail- 
roads along the river, and by ambushing 
forces moving along the highways in that 
area. Some bands carried on guerrilla 



18 Rpt, SFHQto SHAEF, 10th Monthly Rpt (for 
Jun 44), 10 Jul 44, SHAEF SGS 319.1/10 Monthly 
SOE/SO Rpts (SFHQ). For detailed study of this 
subject see The French Forces of the Interior, prep 
in French Resistance Unit, Hist Sec, ETOUSA, 1944, 
MS, Pt. II, Chs. I, II, OCMH files. 

19 Rpt, SFHQ to SHAEF, 1 1th Monthly Rpt (for 
Jul 44), 10 Aug 44, SHAEF SGS 319.1/10 Monthly 
SOE/SO Rpts (SFHQ). 

20 Report by the Supreme Commander to the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff on the Operations in Europe of the Allied 
Expeditionary Force, 6 June 1944 to 8 May 1945 (Wash- 
ington, 1946), p. 41. 



RELATIONS WITH THE FRENCH 



239 



warfare against enemy headquarters and 
supply depots in the south, while others 
sought to protect port facilities at Toulon, 
Marseille, and Sete against enemy de- 
struction at the time of the Allied landings 
in those areas. In mid-August when it 
became clear that the enemy was prepar- 
ing to evacuate field forces from France 
south of the Loire and west of the line 
Orleans-Toulouse-Tarbes, SHAEF gave 
the task of liberating that part of the area 
which lay outside the zone of Allied Force 
Headquarters to the French Forces of the 
Interior. The Resistance forces were di- 
rected to disrupt the movement of troops, 
annihilate petty garrisons and isolate 
larger ones, seize communications centers 
such as Limoges, Poitiers, and Chateau- 
roux, capture airfields to allow the landing 
of supplies for the Resistance forces in the 
Massif Central, close the Spanish frontier 
to escaping German troops, and preserve 
port facilities and public utilities from de- 
struction by the enemy. The forces in the 
south gave valuable assistance to the 
French Army in its attack on Marseille 
and Toulon, and later inflicted losses on 
enemy forces retreating northward. They 
were particularly active against Germans 
withdrawing from the Bordeaux area, and 
were an important factor in forcing the 
surrender of nearly 20,000 persons under 
Generalmajor Botho Elster. After the 
Allied forces swept to the Seine and 
beyond, the Resistance groups remained 
active along the Atlantic Coast in the 
sieges of German garrisons at St. Nazaire, 
La Rochelle, and Bordeaux. 21 

The Liberation of Paris 

The Supreme Commander's desire to 
respect the sensibilities of the French and 
at the same time make certain that the 
enemy was driven from the French capital 



influenced his decisions of late August re- 
lating to the entry into Paris. In the inci- 
dents connected with these developments, 
one may also see the need of the French 
Committee for British and U.S. backing, 
the efforts of General de Gaulle to estab- 
lish the French Committee's sovereignty 
in France, and the co-operative efforts of 
U.S. and French units in a common cause. 

British and U.S. leaders had recognized 
as early as May 1943 that it was politically 
important to include a French division in 
the early campaigns to reconquer French 
soil. The Combined Chiefs of Staff agreed 
during the Washington Conference 
(Trident), at the urging of President 
Roosevelt, that the possibility of adding a 
French division to the assault forces should 
be seriously considered. In mid-January 
1944, General Morgan in discussing Allied 
plans for an entry into Paris said that it 
was "of paramount importance that 
amongst the first troops to enter Paris shall 
be Frenchmen." General Eisenhower ac- 
cepted this suggestion and added that a 
unit large enough to be called a division 
should be brought from North Africa to 
co-operate with U.S. forces in northern 
France. Brig. Gen. Jacques-Philippe 
Leclerc's 2d French Armored Division was 
ultimately selected for this purpose. As a 
part of General Patton's forces, the unit 
was committed to action after the break- 
out and was active in the pursuit to the 
Seine. 22 

21 The French Forces of Interior, Pti II, Chs. I, II; 
Conquer: The Story of Ninth Army, pp. 49-50. 

22 4th and 5th plenary sessions, 21, 23 May 43, CCS 
Final Rpt to President and Prime Minister, CCS 
242/6, 25 May 43, Trident Conf Min. Morgan to 
SHAEF G-3, 14 Jan 44; Record of conversation be- 
tween General d'Astier de la Vigerie and General 
Eisenhower, 22 January 1944, by Comdr. Tracy B. 
Kittredge (with corrections and additions by General 
Eisenhower); SHAEF to Br COS, 28 Jan 44; Morgan 
to SHAEF G-3, 28 Feb 44. All in SHAEF SGS 381 
France, French Participation in Overlord, I. 



240 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



The Supreme Commander made no 
final decision relative to the taking of 
Paris until the Falaise battle. He had in- 
tended initially to bypass Paris and to 
pinch it out, hoping to postpone as long as 
possible the task of supplying the city. His 
views were passed on to General Mont- 
gomery, who declared on 20 August that 
the 12th Army Group should "assemble 
its right wing west and southwest of Paris 
and capture that city when the Com- 
manding General considers the suitable 
moment has arrived — and not before. It is 
important that we should not attempt to 
secure Paris until it is a sound military 
proposition to do so. This is in accordance 
with the views and wishes of the Supreme 
Commander, and this policy will obtain 
unless and until he issues orders to the 
contrary." 23 

Resistance forces in Paris had in the 
meantime started a train of events which 
required a prompt decision by the Su- 
preme Commander. On 15 August, the 
Paris police, railway workers, and other 
government employees took advantage of 
the Allied advance and the withdrawal of 
part of the enemy garrison from the city to 
call a general strike. As the movement 
spread through the city, Resistance forces 
asked Allied headquarters in London for 
aid and prepared a general insurrection in 
the French capital. On 19 August they 
seized the Prefecture of Police and issued 
a call for an uprising in the city. That 
evening, the German commander of the 
city, General von Choltitz, asked for a sus- 
pension of hostilities in order to examine 
the situation. He and Resistance repre- 
sentatives arranged a truce until noon, 
23 August, in order that German forces 
west of the city could be withdrawn to 
points east of Paris without having to fight 
their way out of the capital. Resistance 



forces took advantage of the lull to seize 
the Ministry of Interior, the Hotel de Ville, 
and other public buildings. 24 

As the insurrection in Paris spread, Re- 
sistance leaders attempted to get help from 
the Allies before the truce terminated on 
23 August. When messages to London 
were delayed, the Resistance forces dis- 
patched representatives to Allied forces 
nearest Paris. General de Gaulle, who had 
arrived in France from Algiers, told Gen- 
eral Eisenhower on 2 1 August that he was 
concerned lest the disappearance of police 
forces and German units from Paris and 
the extreme shortage of food shortly lead 
to trouble in the capital. He believed it 
"really necessary to occupy Paris as soon 
as possible with French and Allied forces, 
even if it should produce some fighting 
and some damage within the city." He 
warned that if disorder occurred it would 
be difficult later to take things in hand 
without serious incidents which might 
ultimately hamper military operations. 
He nominated General Koenig as military 
governor of Paris to confer with General 
Eisenhower on the question of occupation 
in case the latter decided to proceed with- 
out delay. General Eisenhower, after talk- 
ing to General Koenig, declared: "It looks 



23 Memo of info from CG, 1 2 A Gp, 23 Aug 44, 
atchd to V Corps FO 21 (photostat), V Corps Opera- 
tions in the ETO, 6 January 1942-9 May 1945 (printed in 
Paris, 1945), p. 200; 21 A Gp, Operational Situation 
and Dir, M-519, 20 Aug 44, SHAEF SGS 381 Post 
Overlord Planning, I (a). Compare 21 Army Group 
order with statement in Montgomery, Normandy to the 
Baltic, p. 172, to the effect that "Paris should be cap- 
tured when General Patton considered that a suitable 
time had arrived." It seems, instead, that General 
Bradley was the commanding general. For General 
Patton's view on the entry into Paris, see his War as 
I Knew It, pp. 116-17. 

24 This and succeeding paragraphs, unless other- 
wise noted, are based on The French Forces of the 
Interior, Pt. II, Ch. II, Sec. 6, The Liberation of Paris. 



RELATIONS WITH THE FRENCH 



241 



now as if we'd be compelled to go into 
Paris. Bradley and his G-2 think we can 
and must walk in." 25 

While General Eisenhower was decid- 
ing that he would have to order Allied 
forces into Paris, representatives of the Re- 
sistance went to the Third Army head- 
quarters and asked that Allied forces enter 
the capital. They were sent back to Gen- 
eral Bradley's headquarters, where they 
reported that the French Forces .of the In- 
terior controlled all of the main city of 
Paris and the bridges leading to Paris 
from the west. Ammunition stocks were 
low, they added, and they feared that if 
Resistance forces were not promptly re- 
lieved shortly after noon on the 23d, "they 
might be severely dealt with by the Ger- 
mans if the Germans decide to return to 
the city. . . ." General Eisenhower had 
already concluded that an Allied force 
should enter Paris as soon as possible after 
the armistice expired. He emphasized that 
no advance party was to be sent into the 
city until after that time, and that he did 
not want a severe fight to take place. Gen- 
eral Bradley ordered the 2d French 
Armored Division to go into the city, while 
the 4th U.S. Division went along the 
southern limits of the French capital to 
seize crossings of the Seine south of Paris 
and to occupy positions to the south and 
southeast. He placed these operations 
under V Corps. 26 

On 24 August, General Bradley 
changed his initial orders and directed 
both the 2d French Armored and the 4th 
Divisions to enter Paris. Early on the fol- 
lowing morning both units reported they 
had entered the city. They rapidly cleared 
out enemy resistance and forced the capit- 
ulation of General von Choltitz, who 
surrendered formally to General Leclerc 
at 1515. Shortly afterward, Maj. Gen. 



Leonard T. Gerow, the V Corps com- 
mander, established his tactical command 
post at the Hotel des Invalides. Three days 
later he notified General Koenig that 
command of the city was being shifted to 
the French. The French general, named 
military governor of Paris by General de 
Gaulle some days before, noted in reply 
that he had assumed that command on 
25 August and that the French authorities 
alone had handled the administration of 
Paris since its liberation. 27 

General Koenig's emphasis on the fact 
that the French were in control of their 
own affairs reflected General de Gaulle's 
determination to settle without delay the 
matter of the French Committee's author- 
ity. British and U.S. officials had discussed 
the possibility of de Gaulle's entry into 
Paris some days before, and there had 
been a disposition to delay his entry until 
some agreement could be reached. The 
French general settled the matter in mid- 
August by notifying General Eisenhower 
that he proposed to come from Algiers to 
France. The Supreme Commander, as- 
suming that General de Gaulle planned 
to enter Paris and to remain in France, 
foresaw possible embarrassment if the 
French general arrived before the recogni- 
tion of a French provisional government. 
The Combined Chiefs of Staff on 1 7 Au- 
gust said they had no objection to the pro- 
posed visit and instructed Eisenhower to 
follow his own proposal of receiving 



25 Ltr, de Gaulle to Eisenhower, 21 Aug 44, with 
penciled annotations by Eisenhower, SHAEF SGS 
092 France, French Relations, II. 

26 Memo of info from CG 1 2th A Gp, 23 Aug 44 
(photostat), V Corps Operations in the ETO, p. 200. Cf. 
Bradley, A Soldier's Story, pp. 390-92. 

27 Bradley, A Soldier's Story, p. 392. Ltr, Gerow to 
Koenig, 28 Aug 44; Ltr, Koenig to Gerow, 31 Aug 
44. Photostats of both in V Corps Operations in the 
ETO, p. 209. 



242 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



de Gaulle as commander of the French 
forces. 28 

SHAEF proposed that the French 
leader come by U.S. plane and land in 
London before proceeding to the Conti- 
nent. Apparently suspecting that this was 
an attempt to keep him out of France 
rather than a measure to protect his plane 
from possible Allied attack, he announced 
that he was leaving in his own plane and 
would land in Cherbourg or Rennes. After 
a warning by General Eisenhower that 
Allied antiaircraft crews might not recog- 
nize the type of plane in which General 
de Gaulle would be flying, and a refusal to 
accept responsibility for his safety, the 
French commander agreed to delay his 
trip one day and to check over the English 
coast before landing at Cherbourg. He 
came by his own plane on 18 August and 
joined the 2d French Armored Division in 
time to enter Paris on 25 August. 29 

On 26 August, General de Gaulle di- 
rected Leclerc's forces to parade through 
Paris. This order was contrary to instruc- 
tions of General Gerow, who feared that 
Germans or German sympathizers in the 
city might fire on the French troops. 
Later, when some shots were fired, Gen- 
eral de Gaulle expressed his regrets, and 
General Koenig agreed to co-operate with 
the U.S. commander. 30 

In order to get General de Gaulle's im- 
pressions of the general situation in Paris 
and to show that the Allies had taken part 
in the liberation of Paris, General Eisen- 
hower visited the French capital on 
27 August. Wishing to have the British 
represented, he invited General Mont- 
gomery to accompany him, but the British 
commander felt unable to leave his troops 
at that time. 31 General Eisenhower recalls 
that during the visit General de Gaulle 
expressed anxiety about conditions in 



Paris, and asked that two U.S. divisions 
be put at his disposal to give a show of 
force and establish his position. For this 
purpose, the Supreme Commander ar- 
ranged for U.S. forces on the way to the 
front to march through Paris and be re- 
viewed by Generals de Gaulle and Brad- 
ley. The 28th Division was sent through 
on 29 August on the way to the battlefront 
northeast of the city. 32 

On 29 August, General Eisenhower 
passed on to General Bradley a request 
from General de Gaulle that the 2d 
French Armored Division be left in Paris 
until other troops came up from the south. 
The Supreme Commander instructed the 
12th Army Group commander to handle 
the matter as he thought best. General 
Bradley arranged for the French division 
to remain for the rest of August. On 3 
September, General de Gaulle asked that 
Leclerc's force be sent eastward, saying 
that order and calm had been restored to 
the capital and it was desirable that 

28 CCS to Eisenhower, 17 Aug 44, Eisenhower per- 
sonal file. 

29 Eisenhower to CCS (two msgs), 16 Aug 44; Wil- 
son to SHAEF, 17 Aug 44; Eaker to de Gaulle, 17 
Aug 44; Wilson to Eisenhower, 18 Aug 44. All in 
SHAEF cbl log. 

30 Col Norman H. Vissering to SHAEF, 262343 and 
262357, Aug 44, SHAEF cbl log. 

31 Diary Office CinC, 26 Aug 44, entry written by 
General Eisenhower's British military assistant, Col- 
onel Gault. Eisenhower to Montgomery, 26 Aug 44; 
Montgomery to Eisenhower, 27 Aug 44. Both in 
Eisenhower personal file. 

32 Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, pp. 297-98. When 
this statement by General Eisenhower appeared, Gen- 
eral de Gaulle denied that he had asked for such sup- 
port. He declared that his position was strong, since 
Paris on 25 August had recognized the authority of 
the provisional government by unanimous and inde- 
scribable enthusiasm and that the move of American 
divisions through the French capital several days later 
had nothing to do with the re-establishment of na- 
tional sovereignty. He had saluted the U.S. forces 
when they marched through the city but had "not at 
all asked for them." New York Times, December 7, 
1948. 



RELATIONS WITH THE FRENCH 



243 



French troops be used in active operations. 
The French units, which had proudly car- 
ried their country's standard back to their 
nation's capital, returned to battle on 
8 September. 33 Many months of battle lay 
ahead, but they were now able to feel that 
the period of defeats was at an end and 
that France, by her own efforts and the 



support of Great Britain and the United 
States, was on the road to victory and 
reconstruction. 



33 De Gaulle to Eisenhower, 26 Aug 44, SHAEF 
SGS 092 France, French Relations, II. Eisenhower to 
12th A Gp comdr, 29 Aug 44; de Gaulle to Eisen- 
hower, 3 Sep 44. Both in SHAEF cbl log. Movement 
order, 7 Sep 44, 2d French Armd Div Opn Orders. 



CHAPTER XIV 



The Pursuit Stops Short of 
the Rhine 



In the three weeks between 18 August 
and 1 1 September, British and Canadian 
forces drove eastward from Falaise to the 
Seine, overran the flying bomb sites in the 
Pas-de-Calais, and wiped out the memo- 
ries of Dieppe and Dunkerque. The First 
U.S. Army crossed the Seine, captured a 
large enemy force at the Mons Pocket, and 
dashed through Belgium. The Third 
Army swept through the Brittany penin- 
sula, ran wild through the Argentan- 
Laval-Chartres area, and lent its forces 
to clear part of the First Army and British 
sectors while pushing other units south 
and east of Paris. By mid-September, Gen- 
eral Eisenhower's troops had driven the 
enemy back to a line running along the 
Dutch border and southward along the 
German border to a point near Trier, and 
thence to Metz. In less than two weeks, the 
Allies had gone more than 200 miles from 
the Seine to the German border, clearing 
all northern France and the greater part 
of Belgium and Luxembourg. They had 
penetrated into the Netherlands and in 
places crossed the German frontier. From 
the south, U.S. and French forces had ad- 
vanced more than 300 miles up the Rhone 
valley and helped to clear southern and 
southwestern France of the enemy. They 
had made contact with the right flank of 
General Bradley's army group on 12 Sep- 



tember and were in process of establishing 
a line running southward from Metz by 
way of Epinal and Belfort to the Swiss 
border. By 15 September the vast bulk of 
occupied western Europe had been freed 
and the battle had b een carried to Ger- 
man soil. \(Map lll\ These great events, 
coming in less time than it had taken to 
capture Caen and St. L6, raised the hopes 
of the Allies and led them to believe that 
quick victory before winter was in their 
grasp. Instead, the great drive lost its 
momentum at the West Wall and a winter 
of hard fighting remained in the Vosges, 
the Huertgen Forest, the Ardennes, and 
in the plains of the Maas and the Roer. 

The Situation at the End of August 

Toward the end of August 1944, Allied 
intelligence agencies, aware of the des- 
perate straits of the enemy and viewing 
constantly the increasing evidence of his 
demoralization, saw German defeat near 
at hand if the Allied attack could be con- 
tinued and the enemy allowed no chance 
to regroup or strengthen his defenses. With 
these possibilities in mind, the SHAEF 
G-2 summary declared near the end of 
August: "The August battles have done it 
and the enemy in the West has had it. Two 
and a half months of bitter fighting have 



THE PURSUIT STOPS SHORT OF THE RHINE 



245 



brought the end of the war in Europe 
within sight, almost within reach." A week 
later it described the German Army in the 
west as "no longer a cohesive force but a 
number of fugitive battle groups, disor- 
ganized and even demoralized, short of 
equipment and arms." The First Army 
chief of intelligence saw a thoroughly dis- 
organized enemy and predicted that polit- 
ical upheaval in Germany might well oc- 
cur "within 30 to 60 days of our investiture 
of Festung Deutschland." The Combined 
Intelligence Committee, which had fore- 
seen possible German collapse in the fall 
of 1943, was certain in the first week of 
September that the German strategic 
situation had deteriorated to the point 
"that no recovery is now possible." Hold- 
ing that neither the German government 
then in power nor any Nazi successor was 
likely to surrender, the committee saw col- 
lapse taking the form of piecemeal sur- 
renders by field commanders. It concluded 
that "organized resistance under the con- 
trol of the German High Command is 
unlikely to continue beyond 1 December 
1944, and ... it may end even sooner." 1 
This enthusiasm was not shared by all 
commanders or intelligence chiefs, nor was 
it borne out entirely by the situation in 
Germany. General Eisenhower had 
warned newspaper reporters against un- 
due optimism in an interview on 20 
August. His forces had advanced so rap- 
idly, he felt, and supply lines were so 
strained that "further movement in large 
parts of the front even against very weak 
opposition is almost impossible." General 
Patton's chief of intelligence showed 
greater caution than either his colleague at 
SHAEF or his commander at Third Army. 
At a time when SHAEF was declaring the 
Germans no longer a cohesive force and 
General Patton believed he could cross the 



German border in ten days, Colonel Koch 
declared: 

Despite the crippling factors of shattered 
communications, disorganization and tre- 
mendous losses in personnel and equipment, 
the enemy nevertheless has been able to 
maintain a sufficiently cohesive front to exer- 
cise an overall control of his tactical situation. 
His withdrawal, though continuing, has not 
been a rout or mass collapse. Numerous new 
identifications in contact in recent days have 
demonstrated clearly that, despite the enor- 
mous difficulties under which he is operating, 
the enemy is still capable of bringing new ele- 
ments into the battle area and transferring 
some from other fronts. 

* * * 

It is clear from all indications that the 
fixed determination of the Nazis is to wage a 
last-ditch struggle in the field at all costs. It 
must be constantly kept in mind that funda- 
mentally the enemy is playing for time. 
Weather will soon be one of his most potent 
Allies as well as terrain, as we move east to 
narrowing corridors. . . . But barring in- 
ternal upheavel in the homeland and the re- 
moter possibility of insurrection within the 
Wehrmacht, it can be expected that the 
German armies will continue to fight until 
destroyed or captured. 2 

Developments in the Reich and among 
the German armies in the west gave 
grounds both for Allied optimism and for 
caution as to the enemy's ability to con- 
tinue the fight. The enemy situation, ex- 
tremely confused when the Falaise trap 
was closed, became chaotic after the re- 
treat east of the Seine. By the end of Au- 
gust, Model, still attempting to direct both 
OB WEST and Army Group B, saw his posi- 
tion grow progressively worse as Allied 

SHAEF Weekly Intel Summaries 23 and 24, 26 
Aug and 2 Sep 44, SHAEF G-2 Rpts; FUSA G-2 
Estimate 24, 3 Sep 44, Opns Rpts; Rpt of Combined 
Intel Com, Prospects of a German Collapse and Sur- 
render as of 8 Sep 44, CCS 660/1, 9 Sep 44, Octagon 
Conf Min. 

2 TUSA G-2 Estimate 9, 28 Aug 44, TUSA AAR, 

II. 



246 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



forces broke through the Somme-Marne- 
Saone line and threatened the line Meuse- 
Moselle. Hitler's reaction was to announce 
that Rundstedt had been recalled to the 
post of Commander in Chief West, that 
Model would retain Army Group B, and 
that the West Wall (Siegfried Line) posi- 
tion would be strengthened. On 3 Septem- 
ber, Hitler admitted that exhaustion of the 
forces in the west and lack of immediately 
available reserves made it impossible to 
indicate positions other than the fortresses 
which could and must be held. He ordered 
instead that an attempt be made to gain 
the maximum amount of time for the or- 
ganization and transfer of new divisions 
and the improvement of German defenses 
in the west. Forces on the north and in the 
center were to fight stubbornly for every 
foot of ground, while preventing the Allies 
from making any major envelopment. 
Army Group G was to gather a reserve force 
in the area of the Vosges which was ini- 
tially to cover the retreat from southern 
France and then to strike deeply in the 
U.S. southern flank. Meanwhile, the Chief 
of Army Equipment and Commander of the Re- 
placement Army was to retain responsibility 
for the defense of the West Wall from the 
Swiss border to Roermond. Efforts were 
also made to provide new units for the de- 
fense. Army Group G was instructed to use 
as replacements men from the ground, air, 
and naval elements that were then with- 
drawing from southern and southwestern 
France. 3 

On the following day, Model informed 
the Fuehrer that the forces in the west 
could hold only on the line Albert Canal- 
Meuse River-Siegfried Line extensions. 
This stand he said, would require at least 
twenty-five fresh divisions and an armored 
reserve of five or six panzer divisions. He 
asked for immediate reinforcements and 



for ten infantry and five panzer divisions 
by 15 September. Von Rundstedt sup- 
ported these views. The new Commander 
in Chief West reported on 7 September 
that Army Group B was worn out and that 
it had only 100 tanks in operating condi- 
tion. Saying that the Allies had complete 
air superiority, that an airborne attack 
could be expected, and that a ground 
forces drive in the direction of Aachen 
seriously menaced his position in the 
north, he asked at once for five or prefer- 
ably ten divisions with assault gun bat- 
talions and antitank weapons and empha- 
sized the need of aerial support. He added 
that at least six weeks would be necessary 
to get the West Wall ready for defense, 
and requested more armor and weapons 
to protect his existing positions for that 
length of time. 4 

Hitler found himself hard pressed on 
the matter of reinforcements because of 
the situation in the east. The Allies were 
aided at this juncture, as they had been 
since June, by a sustained Russian drive 
along a front stretching more than 800 
miles from Finland to the Black Sea. Be- 
ginning their offensive within a week after 
the landings in Normandy, the Red 
armies by 5 September had forced Finland 
to sue for peace, had driven to East Prus- 
sia, threatening to cut off enemy forces in 
the Baltic area, and had swept into Poland 

3 OI-SIR/39 (Scheldt); Der Westen (Schramm); 
Hitler's order of 1 Sep 44, Nr. 773134/44. Office of 
Naval Intelligence, Fuehrer Directives and Other 
Top-Level Directives of the German Armed Forces. 
1942-1945. (Referred to hereafter as ONI Fuehrer Di- 
rectives.) Fuehrer Directives is a selection of translated 
documents from German naval archives. Hitler's 
orders of 3 and 4 Sep 44 ( WFSt Op. Nr. 773189/44 
and OK W / WFSt Nr. 773222/44). Army Group B, In 
Fuehrerbefehle 17. VI. -25. IX .44. 

4 Teletype, Model to Jodl, 4 Sep 44; Teletype, 
Rundstedt to Keitel, 7 Sep 44. Both in Army Group B, 
la Lagebeurteilungen 20 .V .-11 .X. 44. 



THE PURSUIT STOPS SHORT OF THE RHINE 



247 



to the gates of Warsaw, where they 
stopped. In late August and early Septem- 
ber they seized the Ploesti oil fields, forced 
the collapse of Romania, and turned Bul- 
garia to the Allied side. The Germans had 
to commit more than two million men on 
the Eastern Front as compared to approx- 
imately 700,000 in the west. Incomplete 
statistics indicate that the Germans suf- 
fered over 900,000 casualties on the Rus- 
sian front during June, July, and August. 
The casualties inflicted by Soviet forces on 
the Germans prompted Mr. Churchill to 
tell the House of Commons in early Au- 
gust that the Russian Army had done "the 
main work of tearing the guts out of the 
German army." He added: "In the air 
and on the oceans we could maintain our 
place, but there was no force in the world 
which could have been called into being, 
except after several more years, that would 
have been able to maul and break the 
German army unless it had been subjected 
to the terrible slaughter and manhandling 
that has fallen to it through the strength of 
the Russian Soviet armies." 5 

The Russian efforts, tremendous though 
they were, rested heavily on material con- 
tributions of the United States, Great 
Britain, and Canada in the form of lend- 
lease. In the period October 1941 to 30 
June 1944, the Allies had supplied nearly 
11,000 aircraft, more than 4,900 tanks, 
and 263,000 vehicles, including trucks, 
jeeps, trailers, armored cars, and the like. 
The vehicles, equivalent to more than 
one-third the total number landed on the 
Continent for the United States forces 
until the end of the war, were of tremen- 
dous importance to the mobility of the 
Red Army. Indeed, it is estimated that by 
the middle of 1944 American trucks car- 
ried one half of the Russian supplies. It is 
worthy of note that the tanks would have 



supplied the initial T/O requirements of 
more than 1 8 American armored divisions, 
and the trucks and other vehicles would 
have supplied the organic requirements of 
more than 110 armored or 125 American 
infantry divisions as then organized. 6 

A glance at the bill of casualties pre- 
sented in the west could have given Hitler 
little encouragement. In three months of 
fighting, nearly 300,000 Germans were 
dead, wounded, and missing, while an ad- 
ditional force of more than 230,000 officers 
and men, of whom 85,000 belonged to the 
Field Army, had gone into the fortresses of 

5 Strength figures on German forces in the west and 
east in August-September 1944 are discussed by H. 
M. Cole in The Lorraine Campaign (Washington, 1950), 
pp. 29-43. Mr. Churchill's statement to the House of 
Commons was cited in 302 H. C. Deb. 1474 (Han- 
sard's 1943-44). 

6 Office of Foreign Liquidation, Foreign Economics 
Section, Dept of State, Report on War Aid Furnished 
by the U.S. to the U.S.S.R., June 22, 1941-September 
20, 1945; Sixieenth Report to Congress on Lend-Lease Op- 
erations: For the Period Ended June 30 , 1944 (Washing- 
ton, 1944); War Department Field Manual 101-10, 
Organization, Technical and Logistical Data, 10 Oct 
43 and 12 Oct 44 (organization of armored and in- 
fantry divisions); Historical Section, Headquarters, 
ETOUSA, American Enterprise in Europe (Paris, 1945); 
Transportation Corps Monthly Rpt, 31 May 45, and 
Consolidated Statistics of TC Ops in ETO, 1 Jan 42- 
8 May 45, contained in Historical Report of the 
Transportation Corps in ETO, Vol. VII (Apr-May- 
Jun45). 

The statistics on tanks and vehicles sent the Rus- 
sians indicate the number actually shipped, less those 
lost or diverted elsewhere, prior to 1 July 1944. Un- 
doubtedly part of these were still in the supply pipe- 
lines going into Russia, and were not available during 
most of the period in question. 

Only organic transportation of the division is con- 
sidered in the statistics relative to the number of U.S. 
divisions which could have been supplied from tanks 
and vehicles furnished the Red Army. It is clear that 
a number of vehicles far in excess of the divisional 
table of organization is essential to supply a division, 
depending on distance from a port, conditions of com- 
bat, and the like. By the same token the replacement 
factor for combat losses or normal wear on tanks 
would require a reserve of tanks beyond that men- 
tioned. 



248 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



western Europe to remain until the final 
surrender. The toll of high-level com- 
manders — dead, removed, or captured — 
was heavy. Rommel, an army group com- 
mander, was badly wounded, 7 one army 
commander (Generaloberst Friedrich 
Dollmann) was dead, another (Hausser) 
badly wounded, a third (Eberbach) cap- 
tured, and a fourth (Chevallerie) relieved. 
Three OB WEST commanders (von Rund- 
stedt, von Kluge, and Model) had been 
relieved during the period, although 
Rundstedt was reinstated. Von Kluge, 
who had also been relieved of the Army 
Group B command, was dead by his own 
hand. 8 

German estimates of Allied strength 
gave even less comfort. Still heavily over- 
estimating the opposing divisions, the 
enemy spoke at the end of the first week in 
September of 54 Allied divisions on the 
Continent. 9 Although the number was 
grossly exaggerated, even a more accurate 
listing would have been discouraging. 
General Eisenhower had at the moment 
some 38 divisions (20 U.S., 13 British, 3 
Canadian, 1 Polish, and 1 French), and 5 
to 8 U.S. and French divisions still under 
the Mediterranean commander were be- 
ing landed in the south of France. The ac- 
tual number still in the line or in support 
cannot be estimated precisely inasmuch as 
three divisions or more had been with- 
drawn for re-equipping. Nor is it clear 
how many men carried as wounded and 
missing during the period had returned to 
duty. Nevertheless, the number was still 
substantially in excess of the 700,000 men 
now in the enemy's forty-nine and a half 
divisions and attached units stationed in 
the west. 10 

Hitler refused to regard the situation as 
hopeless. New units were in the process of 
formation. OKW notified the Commander 



in Chief West that he would get four in- 
fantry divisions between 13 and 25 Sep- 
tember, and that in the period 15 to 30 
September his forces would be reinforced 
by two panzer brigades, several antitank 
companies, former fortress battalions, and 
other reconverted units. An attempt was 
made to encourage OB WEST by pointing 
out that the Allies had been overoptimistic 
and that their boasts in late August both 
at home and in the field that the war was 
about at an end had proved false. Hitler 
pressed the work of strengthening the 
West Wall defenses, rushing workers and 
materials to the task. By 10 September 
more than 200,000 workers were engaged 
in construction on these fortifications. In a 
move to aid the defense efforts, OKW 
gave the Commander in Chief West juris- 
diction over all branches of the Wehr- 
macht, control over the work on West Wall 
defenses, and permission to call on all 



7 Another army group commander, Blaskowitz, 
was soon to be relieved. 

8 SHAEF estimated German losses as of 29 August 
1944 at 400,000. Memo, SHAEF G-2 for SAC, 29 
Aug 44, SHAEF G-2 Intel on Germany GBI/ol- 
A/091-3. See Cole, The Lorraine Campaign, p. 3 1, for 
information on German casualties. 

9 Teletype, Rundstedt to Keitel, cited above, n. 4. 

10 Strength statistics for both Allied and enemy 
forces are open to question. The Allied order of battle 
for 1 September is given in SHAEF G-3 War Room 
Summary 87, 1 September 1944. Strength as of that 
period showed a cumulative total since 6 June of 
826,700 in the British area and 1,21 1,200 in the U.S. 
area. These statistics do not include the U.S. and 
French forces pouring into southern France which 
were to total six French and three U.S. divisions by 
15 September. Cumulative casualties since D Day 
(not including 6th Army Group figures) were over 
200,000 (124,394 for the U.S. forces as of 30 August 
and 82,309 for the British and Canadians as of 31 
August. With the exception of 36,486 dead (20,668 
American and 15,818 British and Canadian) it is not 
clear how many of the 200,000 casualties had been 
returned to duty. (For cumulative casualties, see 
SHAEF G-3 War Room Summary 91, 5 September 
1944.) 



THE PURSUIT STOPS SHORT OF THE RHINE 



249 



agencies in the western theater of war for 
aid." 

Indications that the enemy was deter- 
mined to hold in the west appeared in a 
reprint of captured minutes of a meeting 
at the German Ministry of Propaganda on 
4 September, circulated by 12th Army 
Group later in the month. The German 
representatives, anticipating the transpor- 
tation difficulties of the Allies, predicted 
that the advance would soon be halted. In 
this event, they added, the Germans 
would be able to make use of new weapons 
then in preparation, and wait for the in- 
evitable squabble which would arise be- 
tween the Russians and the British over 
the Balkans. "It is certain," they said, 
"that the political conflicts will increase 
with the apparent approach of an Allied 
victory, and some day will cause cracks in 
the house of our enemies which no longer 
can be repaired." 12 

Allied Plans for an Advance to the Rhine 

Against this background of enemy dis- 
order and frantic attempts to re-establish 
a new defense line, Allied commanders 
were considering various plans for clear- 
ing northern France and Belgium and ad- 
vancing to the German borcfer and the 
Rhine. The SHAEF planners, at least a 
month before D Day, had outlined gen- 
eral strategy to be followed for the defeat 
of Germany after capture of the lodgment 
area. Recalling that the Supreme Com- 
mander had been charged with the task of 
undertaking operations "aimed at the 
heart of Germany and the destruction of 
her armed forces," the planners selected 
what they considered to be the chief tar- 
get area of Germany and the best route 
by which this objective could be reached. 
They recognized Berlin as the ultimate 



Allied goal but held that the city was "too 
far east to be the objective of a campaign 
in the West." Instead, they set their eyes 
on the Ruhr, saying that it was the only 
area in western Germany of vital eco- 
nomic importance, that an attack on the 
area would force the enemy to commit his 
main forces there and thus give the Allies 
a chance to bring them to battle and de- 
stroy them, and that capture of the area 
would have a tremendous effect on Ger- 
man morale. 13 

From the beginning, therefore, there 
was a SHAEF plan to angle the attack 
from the Seine in the direction of the 
Ruhr. This plan, it will be recalled, was 
based on the idea of a slow advance after 
a careful build-up at the Seine and a series 
of actions which would push the enemy 
forces back to the German frontier north 
of Aachen by D plus 330 (2 May 1945). It 
was considered dangerous to attack by a 
single route and thus canalize the advance 
and open it to a concentrated enemy at- 
tack. SHAEF decided in favor of "a broad 
front both north and south of the Ar- 
dennes," which would give the Allies the 
advantages of maneuver and the ability to 
shift the main weight of attack. If the 
enemy could be forced to extend his forces 
to meet threats in the Metz Gap and the 
Maubeuge-Liege areas and to maintain 
his coastal defenses along the Channel 



11 OI-SIR/39 (Scheidt); Der Westen (Schramm); 
Hitler's order of 7 Sep 44, Nr. 0010783/44. ONI 
Fuehrer Directives. 

12 Rpt of Gonf of ministers at Ministry of Propa- 
ganda, 4 Sep 44, in Annex 2 to 12th A Gp Periodic 
Rpt 106, 19 Sep 44, 12th A Gp Periodic File, 28 
Jul-Nov 44. 

13 This and the following paragraphs on the SHAEF 
plan are taken from SHAEF Planning Staff draft, Post 
Neptune Courses of Action After Capture of the 
Lodgment Area, Main Objectives and Axis of Ad- 
vance, I, 3 May 44, SHAEF SGS 381 Post Overlord 
Planning, I. 



250 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



coast, his hold would be weakened along 
the whole front. In this circumstance, a 
deep penetration on both sides of the Ar- 
dennes or north of that area would force 
an enemy withdrawal from the Ardennes 
west of the Liege-Luxembourg line for a 
concentration to meet the Allied main 
thrust. In the light of these conclusions, the 
SHAEF planners recommended that the 
main line of advance be along the line 
Amiens-Maubeuge-Liege-the Ruhr, with 
a subsidiary attack on the line Verdun- 
Metz. 

When the enemy began to retire from 
Normandy in confusion after mid- August, 
General Eisenhower returned to the pre- 
D-Day concept for the advance into Ger- 
many, While favoring a major thrust into 
the Ruhr area, he still wanted a secondary 
attack to the south of the Ardennes. Some 
observers felt that in holding to this view 
he was overlooking the fact that the bulk 
of the enemy forces, once held east of the 
Seine, had been committed in the Mortain 
and Falaise Gap areas and were no longer 
available to threaten any single line of ad- 
vance which might be made to the north- 
east or to the east. To them, speed was 
needed to destroy the enemy before he 
could piece together enough of his shat- 
tered elements for a defense of the West 
Wall or the Rhine. 

In mid- August, before it was clear that 
the German collapse west of the Seine 
would be as sweeping as it proved to be, 
Generals Bradley and Patton discussed a 
scheme for sending three corps across the 
Rhine near Wiesbaden, Mannheim, and 
Karlsruhe to end the war speedily. To 
them this was the shortest route into Ger- 
many and one that promised the best divi- 
dends. General Bradley thought that both 
First and Third Armies should execute the 
maneuver, whereas General Patton be- 



lieved that the Third Army alone, if given 
sufficient supplies, could move to the. 
Metz-Nancy-Epinal area and cross the 
German border in ten days. General 
Montgomery at the same time was con- 
sidering an entirely different approach to 
the problem, an approach somewhat 
nearer the initial SHAEF concept than 
that of General Bradley and General Pat- 
ton. Wanting as quickly as possible to clear 
the Pas-de-Calais coast with its V-bomb 
sites, to get airfields in Belgium, and to se- 
cure the port at Antwerp, Montgomery 
felt that the main drive should be made 
toward the northeast. In the belief that his 
own British and Canadian forces would be 
unable to accomplish all of these missions 
quickly, he proposed that part or all of 
General Bradley's forces should move 
northeastward with their right flank on 
the Ardennes, cutting the enemy lines of 
communications and facilitating the ad- 
vance of the British forces. 

The British and U.S. commanders, each 
conscious of the opportunities on his own 
front and desirous of seizing them quickly, 
favored single thrusts into enemy territory. 
One would have swung nearly all of the 
Allied force to the northeast; the other 
would have thrust the main U.S. forces 
almost due east. 

On 22 August, General Eisenhower 
considered the various plans of his subor- 
dinates. He expressed his intention even- 
tually to direct 21 Army Group north of 
the Ardennes while 12th Army Group ad- 
vanced beyond Paris and prepared to 
strike just south of the Ardennes. At the 
moment, however, he had certain tactical 
requirements to consider. In order to aid 
2 1 Army Group in carrying out its imme- 
diate missions of destroying forces between 
the Seine and the Pas-de-Calais, it was 
necessary, he felt, to reinforce the British 



THE PURSUIT STOPS SHORT OF THE RHINE 



251 



army group with an entire airborne com- 
mand and such other forces as might be 
required. He added that General Brad- 
ley's rate of advance east of Paris would 
depend on the speed with which ports in 
Brittany could be cleared and the Allied 
supply situation improved. 14 

General Montgomery on the 23d re- 
minded the Supreme Commander that to 
sweep through the Pas-de-Calais to Ant- 
werp he would need an entire U.S. army 
moving on his right flank. General Brad- 
ley argued that one corps would be suffi- 
cient for this purpose. General Eisen- 
hower, although believing the British 
commander overcautious, acceded to his 
request in order to insure success. At the 
same time, he ordered General Bradley to 
use his remaining forces to clear the ports 
in Brittany, defend U.S. lines of communi- 
cations against possible attacks from the 
Paris area, and amass supplies for an ad- 
vance eastward toward Metz. Told by the 
services of supply that they could support 
the British advances through northern 
France and Belgium, Eisenhower wrote 
Montgomery: "All of us having agreed 
upon this general plan, the principal 
thing we must now strive for is speed in 
execution. All of the Supply people have 
assured us that they can support the 
move, beginning this minute — let us as- 
sume that they know exactly what they 
are talking about and get about it vigor- 
ously and without delay." 15 

In supporting General Montgomery's 
attack with a U.S. army, the First, Gen- 
eral Eisenhower also allocated the bulk of 
12th Army Group's gasoline to that army, 
thus depriving Third Army of the means 
of making a rapid drive to the east. It was 
a blow to the hopes of General Patton, 
who felt that the British commander had 
outargued the Supreme Commander. 



Patton drew some solace from the fact 
that he still had seven good divisions going 
in the direction he and Bradley always 
wanted to go. 16 Furthermore, he still had 
eight days in which to advance before the 
drying up of his fuel supply led him to a 
temporary halt. 

General Eisenhower in explaining his 
decision to General Marshall said that he 
had temporarily changed his basic plan 
for attacking both to the northeast and the 
east in order to help General Montgomery 
seize tremendously important objectives 
in the northeast. He considered the 
change necessary even though it interfered 
with his desire to push eastward through 
Metz, because 2 1 Army Group lacked suf- 
ficient strength to do the job. He added 
that he did not doubt 12th Army Group's 
ability to reach the Franco-German bor- 
der, but "saw no point in getting there 
until we are in a position to do something 
about it." 17 

On 26 August, General Montgomery, 
still acting as commander of ground forces 
on the Continent, repeated the Supreme 
Commander's decisions to the Allied gen- 
erals. He assigned the following tasks: the 
First Canadian Army was to clear the Pas- 
de-Calais; the Second British Army was to 
advance" rapidly into Belgium; and the 
First U.S. Army was to support the British 
advance by driving forward on the Paris- 
Brussels axis to establish forces in the 
Maastricht-Liege area east of Brussels and 
the Charleroi-Namur area south of Brus- 

14 Eisenhower to Marshall, CPA 90235, 22 Aug 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 

15 Eisenhower to Montgomery, 24 Aug 44, confirm- 
ing agreements of the preceding day, SHAEF SGS 
381 Post Overlord Planning, I; Bradley, A Soldier's 
Story, pp. 399-401; Eisenhower to Marshall, 5 Sep 44, 
Diary Office CinC. 

16 Patton, War as I Knew It, pp. 116-17. 

17 Ltr, Eisenhower to Marshall, 24 Aug 44, Eisen- 
hower personal file. 



252 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Table 1 — Casualties Caused by Flying Bomb and Rocket Attacks on the United 

Kingdom, 1944^-5 



Totals. 



Iti London, _ 







Number 



Bqmbr, • Rockets * 



5, 890 



2, S63 
3,327 



1,054 



517 
537 



Killed 



By Bombi ° By Etoclcett 



5,835 



5,373 
462 



2, 855 



2, 642 
213 



Seriouily Injured 



By Bombs » By 



16, 762 



15, 258 
1,504 



6,268 



5, 670 



• Between 12 June 1944 and 29 March 194S, 

• Between 8 September 1944 and 27 March 1945. 

sels. The 21 Army Group commander 
stressed a special British problem which 
had developed since mid-June in his re- 
minder that a speedy advance would 
"bring quick relief to our families and 
friends in England by over-running the 
flying bomb launching sites in the Pas de 
Calais." 18 (Table 1) 

General Bradley confirmed the broad 
outline of General Montgomery's direc- 
tive but asked that the inter-army-group 
boundary be changed to give Brussels to. 
the Second British instead of to the First 
U.S. Army. This shift was accepted by the 
21 Army Group commander. In addition 
to making these arrangements for First 
Army, General Bradley directed the Third 
Army to complete the reduction of Brit- 
tany, protect the south flank of 1 2th Army 
Group, and prepare for a continuation of 
its advance to seize crossings of the Rhine 
between Mannheim and Koblenz. 19 

General Eisenhower's decision to shift 
the First U.S. Army northward tempo- 
rarily during the British advance from the 
Seine to Antwerp was accompanied by a 
firm resolution to return as soon as possi- 
ble to the early SHAEF policy of advanc- 
ing toward Germany by routes north of 
the Ardennes and south of that area 



through the Metz Gap. At the beginning 
of September, his planners began to study 
means by which one corps from the First 
Army could now be used to support a 
move of the Third Army toward the Saar 
and a move either up to the Moselle or to- 
ward Frankfurt while the remainder of the 
British and U.S. forces were going north- 
east. On 2 September at Chartres, General 
Eisenhower discussed future plans with 

18 Montgomery to army comdrs, M-520, 26 Aug 
44, SHAEF SGS 381 Post Overlord Planning, I. Mr. 
Churchill at the beginning of August estimated that 
between 13 June when the first V-bombs were 
dropped on the United Kingdom and 1 August more 
than 5,700 robot bombs had killed nearly 5000 people, 
seriously injured 14,000, destroyed 17,000 homes, and 
damaged 80,000. Address by Mr. Churchill, August 2, 
1944, 302 H. C. Deb. 1475 (Hansard's 1943-44). Post- 
war estimates indicate that between 12 June 1944 
and 29 March 1945 nearly 5,900 bombs fell in the 
United Kingdom, killing over 5,800 people and seri- 
ously injuring nearly 17,000 more. In the period 8 
September 1944 to 27 March 1945 more than a 
thousand rockets were to fall in the United Kingdom, 
killing 2,855 people and seriously injuring 6,268 more. 

For efforts of SHAEF and the air forces to deal with 
the continued Crossbow threat in the summer of 
1944, see Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces in 
World War II, Vol. Ill, Ch. 15, "Crossbow— Second 
Phase." The authors indicate that U.S. bomber com- 
manders and, to a lesser extent, British bomber chiefs 
opposed Air Chief Marshal Tedder's insistence on a 
continued bombing of V-weapon launching sites. 
The bomber commanders preferred to concentrate 
more heavily on German economy and support of 



THE PURSUIT STOPS SHORT OF THE RHINE 



253 



Generals Bradley, Hodges, and Patton. As 
a result of decisions made there, the 12th 
Army Group commander told his subor- 
dinates to prepare for an advance by the 
Third Army and one corps of the First 
Army toward Mannheim, Frankfurt, and 
Koblenz. 20 

General Eisenhower qualified his ap- 
proval of the drive to the east with his 
statement that it would depend on the suc- 
cess of the northern thrust, which had 
prior claim on supplies. He also warned of 
the supply problems which might give 
trouble in the future and noted: 

We have advanced so rapidly that further 
movement in large parts of the front even 
against very weak opposition is almost im- 
possible. . . . The closer we get to the Sieg- 
fried Line the more we will be stretched ad- 
ministratively and eventually a period of 
relative inaction will be imposed upon us. 
The potential danger is that while we are 
temporarily stalled the enemy will be able to 
pick up bits and pieces of forces everywhere 
and re-organize them swiftly for defending 
the Siegfried Line or the Rhine. It is obvious 
from an over-all viewpoint we must now as 
never before keep the enemy stretched every- 
where. 21 

From Field Marshal Montgomery's 
point of view, the scarcity of supplies pro- 
vided no basis for a strategy of stretching 
the enemy everywhere. 22 Instead, he in- 
sisted that Allied resources were insuffi- 



the Allied land battle as a better means of stopping 
the V-weapon attack. The authors conclude that the 
large-scale Crossbow operations during the period 
were a failure but that they offered firm evidence 
that "the Allies could respond too generously rather 
than too niggardly to whatever threats might arise 
to jeopardize the execution of the grand strategic 
designs so carefully prepared and so skilfully executed 
in the pursuance of one objective — defeat of the 
enemy in Europe." (P. 541.) 

19 12th A Gp, Ltrof Instr 6, 25 Aug 44, 12th A Gp 
Rpt of Opns, V, 85-87; Ltr, Bradley to Montgomery, 
26 Aug 44, 12th A Gp Military Objectives 371,3; 
Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic, p. 208. 



cient for two full-blooded attacks and that 
a compromise solution would merely pro- 
long the war. He urged that the drive to 
the Ruhr be given full backing, saying, 
"We have now reached a stage where one 
really powerful and full-blooded thrust to- 
ward Berlin is likely to get there and thus 
end the German war." 23 

General Eisenhower replied that no re- 
allocation of existing resources "would be 

20 Memo, Nevins for Chief Ops A Sub-Sec G-3 
SHAEF, 1 Sep 44, OCMH files; points of discussion 
at Ghartres given in Notes on Meeting of Supreme 
Commander and Commanders, 2 Sep 44, 1 2th A Gp 
Military Objectives 371.3; Memo, G-3 SHAEF for 
CofS SHAEF, 3 Sep 44, SHAEF SGS 381 Post Over- 
lord Planning I. General Patton says (War as I Knew 
It, pp. 120-24) that General Bull, the SHAEF G-3, 
refused to approve this plan on 30 August while on a 
staff visit to Bradley's advance headquarters. "We 
[Bradley and Patton] finally persuaded General 
Eisenhower" to approve the plan on 2 September. 
General Bull recommended the plan in a memo- 
randum of 3 September in which he said that, in 
view of reported German weakness along the West 
Wall, the reduction of the size of Allied forces driv- 
ing northeast of the Ardennes was not only prac- 
ticable "but desirable . . . to maintain the speed of 
advance." 

21 Eisenhower to comdrs, FWD 13765, 4 Sep 44, 
SHAEF SGS 381 Post OverlokD Planning, I; Eisen- 
hower to Marshall, FWD 13792, 4 Sep 44, Eisenhower 
personal file. 

22 General Montgomery's appointment as field 
marshal was announced on 1 September. Mr. Church- 
ill had informed General Eisenhower on 22 August 
that the promotion would be made to run from the 
termination of Montgomery's command of Allied as- 
sault forces. This the Prime Minister considered a 
necessary concession to British public opinion. He 
added that the promotion, which would make Mont- 
gomery outrank both Eisenhower and Bradley, would 
make no difference in the field marshal's position in 
regard to high-ranking U.S. officers. AMSSO to 
Eisenhower, 4891, 22 Aug 44, Eisenhower personal 
file. 

23 Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-160, 4 Sep 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. Compare this with the state- 
ment, Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic, p. 193: 
"My own view was that one powerful, full-blooded 
thrust across the Rhine and into the heart of Ger- 
many, backed by the whole of the resources of the 
Allied armies, would be likely to achieve decisive 
results." 



254 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



adequate to sustain a thrust to Berlin." 
Since the bulk of the German Army in the 
west had been destroyed, he went on, it 
was imperative to breach the Siegfried 
Line, cross the Rhine on a wide front, and 
seize the Ruhr and the Saar. Such a drive 
would give the Allies a stranglehold on 
two of Germany's chief industrial areas 
and largely wreck its ability to wage war. 
It would assist in cutting off the forces re- 
treating from the south of France, give the 
Allies freedom of action, and force the 
enemy to disperse his forces over a wide 
front. 24 The Supreme Commander, while 
giving priority to Montgomery's advance 
to the northeast, thought it important to 
get "Patton moving again so that we may 
be fully prepared to carry out the original 
conception for the final stages of the cam- 
paign." As he saw it at the time, the logi- 
cal move was to take advantage of all ex- 
isting lines of communications in the 
advance toward Germany and to bring 
the southern wing of the Overlord forces 
on to the Rhine at Koblenz. At the same 
time, airborne forces would be used to 
seize crossings over the Rhine thus placing 
the Allies in a position to thrust deep into 
the Ruhr and threaten Berlin. The execu- 
tion of these drives rested, he added, on 
speed, which in turn relied on mainte- 
nance — "now stretched to the limit." 25 

Field Marshal Montgomery argued 
that the maintenance question empha- 
sized the need for putting all supplies be- 
hind one thrust into Germany. Believing 
"with all respect . . . that a reallocation 
of our present resources of every descrip- 
tion would be adequate to get one thrust 
to Berlin," he asked General Eisenhower 
to reconsider his decision. SHAEF plan- 
ners felt that Montgomery's view was op- 
timistic. They suggested that a maximum 
of three Allied corps could be pushed to 



Berlin by the end of September only if 
five corps were grounded in Normandy 
and Brittany, if Antwerp — captured on 4 
September — and ports in the Pas-de- 
Calais were producing some 7,000 tons of 
supplies a day, and if an airlift was bring- 
ing in 2,000 tons daily. 26 Nonetheless, 
SHAEF made a considerable effort to pro- 
vide additional support for Montgomery's 
battle. General de Guingand reported to 
his superior on 7 September that SHAEF 
had met 80 percent of the British requests 
for locomotives and rolling stock and that 
an increased allocation would be made. 
He added that the northern thrust was to 
have priority on air supply and would be 
allocated the airborne army as a means of 
capturing Walcheren Island and clearing 
the Schelde estuary in the hope of opening 
the approaches to Antwerp. 27 

The new allocations, while welcome, 
were much less than Field Marshal Mont- 
gomery thought necessary for a powerful 
thrust into Germany. Worse still, in his 
view, the Supreme Commander during 
the first week in September had author- 
ized General Bradley to continue the at- 
tack to the east and to allocate additional 
fuel supplies to the Third Army. Under 
these authorizations, the 12th Army 
Group commander ordered crossings of 
the Rhine by the First Army near 
Cologne, Bonn, and Koblenz and by the 

2A Eisenhower to Montgomery, FWD 13889, 5 Sep 
44, Eisenhower personal file. 

25 Memo for record, Eisenhower, 5 Sep 44, Diary 
Office CinC. 

26 Although Antwerp itself was seized almost intact, 
Germans on Walcheren Island and to the south of 
the Schelde estuary prevented ships from coming up 
the Schelde to Antwerp. 

27 Montgomery to Eisenhower, 7 Sep 44, Diary 
Office CinC; Ping paper, Logistical Implications of 
Rapid Thrust to Berlin, Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 Logis- 
tical Forecasts, Folder 13; Cbl ADSEC (21 A Gp 
CofS) to TAC HQEXFOR (Montgomery), 7 Sep 44, 
SHAEF SGS 381 Post Overlord Planning, I. 



THE PURSUIT STOPS SHORT OF THE RHINE 



255 



Third Army in the vicinity of Mannheim 
and Mainz, and, if possible, near Karls- 
ruhe. 28 

General Eisenhower discussed the 
routes of advance and other problems with 
his army group commanders and the Al- 
lied naval commander on 9, 10, and 11 
September. In the most important of the 
three conferences, he met with Air Chief 
Marshal Tedder, General Gale, and Field 
Marshal Montgomery on 10 September at 
Brussels. The Supreme Commander re- 
fused to consider what he called "a pencil 
like thrust" into the heart of Germany. 29 
Since the Germans still had reserves, he 
believed that a single thrust on any part 
of the front would meet with certain de- 
struction. General Eisenhower was unwill- 
ing, therefore, to stop operations in the 
south. He emphasized that his chief inter- 
est was in opening the port of Antwerp, 
but added that he was willing to defer this 
operation until an effort could be made to 
obtain a bridgehead over the Rhine at 
Arnhem and outflank the defenses of the 
Siegfried Line. 30 

General Patton's forces went forward 
rapidly, and on 14 September General 
Bradley was able to announce that Third 
Armv had crossed the Moselle in force. 
Noting that the next forty-eight hours 
would indicate how fast Patton could go, 
the 12th Army Group commander added 
that if Third Army could not make any 
real progress northeast from the Metz area 
he would shift it to the north. But the 
Supreme Commander now relaxed his 
previous order to the point of saying that 
if Montgomery could go ahead on the 
maintenance promised him, and if Hodges 
could be kept fully supplied up to the time 
he reached his first principal objective, 
there was no reason "why Patton should 
not keep on acting offensively if conditions 



for offensive action were favorable." 31 

These concessions to 12th Army Group, 
however hedged about with conditions, 
appeared to Field Marshal Montgomery 
to undermine plans for the approaching 
airborne operation near Arnhem and the 
campaign to open the port of Antwerp. To 
some members of his staff, the granting:of 
permission for Patton to continue to drive 
to the east, while Montgomery was ori- 
ented toward the northeast, prevented 
any commander from landing a solid 
punch and weakened the center of the Al- 
lied line in the area of the Ardennes. To 
Field Marshal Montgomery's worried 
comments on the subject, General Eisen- 
hower replied on the eve of the Arnhem 
operation: "I sent a senior staff officer to 
General Bradley yesterday to see that ail 
of his forces and distribution of his supplies 
will coordinate effectively with this idea. 
While he had issued a temporary directive 
on September 10 that on the surface did 
not conform clearly to this conception of 
making our principal drive with our left, 
the actual fact is that everything he is do-" 
ing will work out exactly as you visualize 

28 Bradley ltr of instructions to comdrs (in confirma- 
tion of previous verbal orders). 10 Sep 44, SHAEF 
SGS 381 Post Overlord Planning, I; Bradley, A 
Soldier's Story, pp. 410-14. 

29 It should be noted that Field Marshal Mont- 
gomery spoke of the thrust as "full-blooded," Inas- 
much as his proposals involved the use of the Second 
British Army and two corps of the First U.S. Army 
for an advance between Arnhem and the Ardennes, 
his term "full-blooded" seems the more accurate 
description. General Patton's earlier proposal for an 
advance toward Berlin by two corps seems to con- 
form more nearly to the term "pencil like." 

so Notes on mtg at Brussels, 10 Sep 44, by Tedder, 
OCMH files; Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, pp. 
306-07. 

31 Bradley to Eisenhower, 12 Sep 44; Dir, Eisen- 
hower to army comdrs, FWD 14764, 13 Sep 44. Both 
in SHAEF SGS 381 Post Overlord Planning, I. 
Bradley to Eisenhower, 14 Sep 44, 12th A Gp 371.3 
Military Objectives, I; Eisenhower to Bradley, 15 
Sep 44, Eisenhower personal file. 



256 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



it." He added: "So Bradley's left is strik- 
ing hard to support you; Third Army is 
pushing north to support Hodges; and 
Sixth Army Group is being pushed up to 
give right flank support to the whole." 32 

The Supreme Commander's emphasis 
on the opening of the port of Antwerp at 
the conference of 10 September may be 
said to mark a new phase in Allied oper- 
ational planning. At the beginning of 
September, the stress had been on thrusts 
to the Rhine. This strategy had been en- 
couraged by the capture of Antwerp on 
4 September. But when it was clear that 
this prize was of no value until the enemy 
had been dislodged from his positions 
north and south of the Schelde estuary, 
stretching for some fifty miles to the sea, 
General Eisenhower gave priority to an 
operation to clear the estuary. After his 
conferences of 9, 1 0, and 1 1 September, he 
became confirmed in his view that "the 
early winning of deep water ports and im- 
proved maintenance facilities in our rear 
are prerequisites to a final all-out assault 
on Germany proper." He was influenced 
by the fact that the Allies were still sup- 
ported logistically over the open beaches 
and that a week or ten days of bad weather 
in the Channel could paralyze the move- 
ments of the armies. He now ordered 21 
Army Group to secure promptly the ap- 
proaches to Antwerp and Rotterdam in 
addition to the Channel ports, 12th Army 
Group to reduce Brest, and 6th and 12th 
Army Groups to open lines from Marseille 
to the north. 33 In his insistence on deep- 
water ports, General Eisenhower was sup- 
ported by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. 
From their conference at Quebec they had 
expressed their preference for the northern 
over the southern routes of advance into 
Germany and had stressed the necessity 
for opening the northwest ports, "particu- 



larly Antwerp and Rotterdam, before the 
bad weather sets in." 34 

Before the Antwerp operation could be 
started, Field Marshal Montgomery car- 
ried out his offensive near Arnhem. With 
the end of that attack, the pursuit into 
Germany came to a full halt. 35 On other 
fronts, it had virtually come to a standstill 
by mid-September. A review of the logis- 
tical situation of the Allied forces in the 
preceding four to six weeks may help ex- 
plain why the pursuit stopped short of the 
Rhine. 

Logistical Reasons for the Halt 

It is clear that the demands of four 
rapidly advancing armies, requiring as 
much as a million gallons of gasoline daily, 
overtaxed the Allied lines of communica- 
tions, which extended in some cases as far 
back as Cherbourg and the invasion 



32 Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-181, 9 Sep 44; 
Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-192, 11 Sep 44; 
Eisenhower to Montgomery (comments on Mont- 
gomery's statements to Gen Smith), FWD 14758, 13 
Sep 44; Eisenhower to Montgomery, 16 Sep 44. All 
in SHAEF SGS 381 Post Overload Planning, I. 
Comments of members of 21 Army Group staff to 
author in series of interviews. 

33 Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-192, 1 1 Sep 44; 
Eisenhower to Montgomery, FWD 14758, 13 Sep 44; 
Dir, Eisenhower to army comdrs, FWD 14764, 13 Sep 
44. All in SHAEF SGS 381 Post Overlord Plan- 
ning, I. 

34 CCS to Eisenhower, Octagon 16, 12 Sep 44, 
SHAEF SGS 38 1 Post Overlord Planning, I. In dis- 
cussing General Eisenhower's proposals of alternative 
routes into Germany, Field Marshal Brooke thought 
the northern route should be strengthened as much 
as possible. He asked for the most energetic efforts to 
secure and open the port of Antwerp as a valuable 
base for future operations on the northern flank. He 
felt there had not been enough emphasis on these two 
points. His proposed draft reply was the one sent Gen- 
eral Eisenhower. CCS 17 2d mtg, Octagon (Quebec), 
12 Sep 44. 

35 For discussion of the Arnhem operation, see 
below, Ch. XVI. 



THE PURSUIT STOPS SHORT OF THE RHINE 



257 



beaches. These limitations certainly made 
impossible a number of simultaneous 
drives through the Siegfried Line and also 
made doubtful the success of a single 
thrust beyond the Rhine. From the begin- 
ning of Overlord planning, the various 
staffs had recognized supply difficulties as 
one of their major problems. They had 
stressed, therefore, the necessity of captur- 
ing sufficient ports to provide adequate 
and easily accessible stores, emphasizing 
the vital importance of Cherbourg, Le 
Havre, and the ports of Brittany if a drive 
into Germany was to be sustained. The 
planners assumed, as a result, that the rate 
of the advance beyond the Seine would be 
much less rapid than the rate actually 
achieved. In procurement estimates of 
June 1944, designedly optimistic for pur- 
poses of planning, D plus 90 (4 September 
1944) was set for reaching the Seine, D 
plus 200 (23 December 1944) the Belgian 
frontier, D plus 330 (2 May 1945) the 
German frontier north of Aachen, and D 
plus 360 (1 June 1945) the surrender. 

Both the first and last of these dates 
proved pessimistic. The Third Army 
reached the Seine on D plus 75 (20 Au- 
gust 1944) and the surrender came on D 
plus 336 (8 May 1945). These predictions, 
later pointed to with pride by the Allied 
staffs, have tended to obscure the more 
important fact, so far as supplies were con- 
cerned, that on D plus 97 (1 1 September 
1944), one week after they were expected 
to reach the Seine and some seven months 
before they were supposed to reach the 
German border north of Aachen, the 
Allies actually sent units across the Reich 
frontier. But it was in this period of the 
great pursuit between the Seine and Ger- 
many that supply and transport facilities 
proved hopelessly insufficient for the slash- 
ing attack which developed. True, in mid- 



August, when the armies were beginning 
to be pinched for supplies, the planners 
changed their calculations. At that time 
British planners estimated that bridge- 
heads could be established over the Seine 
at Rouen in the period between 10 August 
and 10 September, and that after the lat- 
ter date an advance could be made on 
Amiens. The SHAEF planners were less 
optimistic, holding that any advance in 
strength before October east of the Seine- 
Loire River line would have to be con- 
ducted mainly by British forces. They sug- 
gested that an advance in strength by 
U.S. forces beyond the Mantes-Gassicourt- 
Orleans line be delayed until late 
October. Because the Allies would have to 
feed the population of Paris if they took the 
city, the SHAEF planners favored post- 
poning its capture until rail facilities were 
developed in Brittany and Normandy and 
the Seine ports were captured. 36 As late as 
23 August, the 12th Army Group deputy 
chief of supply estimated that the British 
would be at the Seine on 1 September, the 
Somme on 15 September, and on other 
objectives (apparently northern France 
and Belgium) by 1 November. General 
de Guingand, 21 Army Group chief of 
staff, concurred with these estimates ex- 



36 SHAEF G-4 Post Neptune Operations Admin- 
istrative Appreciation, 17 Jun 44, SHAEF G-4 370.2 
Post-NEPTUNE Operations Logistic Studies. 21 A Gp 
Plan, Development of Current Operations, 1 1 Aug 44; 
Air Staff SHAEF, Development of Operations from 
the Bridgehead to Secure Lodgment Area and Ad- 
vance Beyond (21 A Gp Plans); SHAEF G-3 Plan, 
Post Neptune Operations, 17 Aug 44, Sec. Ill, 
SHAEF G-3 Post Overlord Planning, 18008, 370- 
31. When the preliminary draft of the 21 A Gp Plan 
was received at SHAEF at the end of July, Group 
Captain Gleave, one of the SHAEF planners, indi- 
cated that, whereas SHAEF felt that the paper was 
too optimistic, Air Marshal Coningham considered 
the plan not bold enough. Gleave to SASO, AEAF, 2 
Aug 44, SHAEF file Air Staff (SHAEF). 



258 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



cept that he expected to gain the "other 
objectives" by 15 October. 37 

In mid- August as the tremendous pos- 
sibilities of a rapid advance became evi- 
dent, the Allied supply organizations 
made great efforts to provide the means 
for the offensives which were developing. 
Communications Zone troops were laying 
pipelines for carrying fuel, constructing at 
the peak as much as thirty to forty miles a 
day. Special emphasis was placed on the 
rapid restoration of railroad lines so that 
overburdened truck companies could be 
used more economically. At the height of 
supply difficulties in the last week of Au- 
gust, an emergency airlift and the Red 
Ball Express truck line were set up to deal 
with the gasoline shortages which became 
more acute as the advance continued be- 
yond the Seine. 38 

The liberation of Paris, as SHAEF sup- 
ply planners had feared, increased the 
heavy load thrown on the U.S. supply or- 
ganization and interfered directly with the 
flow of fuel to combat elements. The addi- 
tional burden came at a time when air- 
craft engaged in carrying fuel to the First 
Army were supposed to be returned to the 
Air Transport Command for training in 
preparation for forthcoming airborne 
attacks. 39 On 29 August, the 12th Army 
Group chief of civil affairs found that the 
French capital needed 2,400 tons of sup- 
plies daily and proposed that they be 
brought by air. General Bradley initially 
authorized 500 tons at the expense of mili- 
tary requirements, but added in another 
message the same day that additional in- 
formation on supply requirements in the 
city required that a "total of 1500 tons 
daily regardless of cost to the military 
effort, be delivered at once." 40 The reas- 
signment of aircraft to airborne training 
and the diversion of air tonnage to civil 



affairs supplies coincided with the almost 
complete cessation of gasoline deliveries to 
the Third Army, which had been the chief 
beneficiary of the airlift since 25 August. 

Another complication appeared as the 
armies moved farther to the east: the prob- 
lem of constructing sufficient and proper 
airfields to receive the airplanes necessary 
to maintain the pace which was being set 
on the ground. The rapid advance of 
armored columns meant that the burden 
thrown on airfield construction agencies 
in the matter of materials, men, and time 
was much greater than the capacities of 
the organization which had been set up. 
The chief of staff of IX Engineer Com- 
mand, which was charged with the task of 
building and maintaining airfields, gave 
eloquent testimony after the war on the 
problems confronting the Allies in their 
attempts to supply the rush to the Rhine. 
In analyzing the claim that General Pat- 
ton could have gone to Germany in ten 
days, he declared: 

Had Patton continued through the Saar 
Valley and the Vosges it must have been 
without close air support and with a very 
small contribution in the way of air supply 
beyond the Reims-Epernay line. We could 
have fixed up Conflans, Metz, and Nancy- 
Azelot in time to have done some good, but 
the next possible fields were at Haguenau 
and Strasburg with no fields except Trier be- 

37 Memo on conf with Maj Gen Miles Graham, 2 1 
A Gp G-4, etal., dtd 23 Aug 44, SHAEF 12th A Gp 
G-4 Papers, Drawer 1 1 , Folder 1 1 . 

38 Ruppenthal, Logistical Support of the Armies, dis- 
cusses these efforts in detail. Mr. Royce L. Thompson 
of OCMH has prepared an exhaustive study of the 
gasoline shortages from the official reports of SHAEF, 
Communications Zone, and the army group, army, 
corps, and division files. This study is in OCMH files. 

39 See Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces in 
World War III, 275-77. 

40 12th A Gp to SHAEF el al., QX 21026, 29 Aug 
44; 12th A Gp to COMZ Fwd, QX 21043, 29 Aug 
44. Both in SHAEF G-4 581.2 Transportation by Air 
of Supplies and Equipment, II (1944). 



THE PURSUIT STOPS SHORT OF THE RHINE 



259 



tween there and Koln-Maastricht Plain. I 
would not have liked to tackle the job of sup- 
plying Patton over the Vosges and through 
the Pfalz during that October. I don't doubt 
that we could have carried about 2 armored 
and one mtz. division up to Koln, but then 
where. Certainly not across the Rhine. A 
good task force of Panzerfaust, manned by 
Hitler youth could have finished them off be- 
fore they reached Kassel. 41 

Whether a diversion of all supplies to 
Field Marshal Montgomery's forces would 
have enabled him to cross the Rhine be- 
fore the enemy could reorganize his de- 
fenses cannot be finally settled. To let the 
2 1 Army Group have all the support it 
wanted in late August would have meant 
stopping the Third U.S. Army near Paris, 
delaying a link-up between the Overlord 
and the Anvil forces, failing to capture 
enemy elements retreating from south- 
western France to Germany, and opening 
the right wing of the army to a possible 
enemy attack. If the Rhine could have 
been crossed while the enemy was still un- 
prepared and the shock of that event had 
shaken the Reich into collapse or its 
armies into surrender, obviously these 
eventualities would not have mattered. If 
the single thrust across the Rhine had 
failed to smash German resistance, there 
is some doubt that the forces could have 
been maintained at full operational scale. 

It is equally difficult to determine 
whether the diversion of all available sup- 
plies to General Patton would have per- 
mitted him to reach the Rhine in ten days 
or two weeks. On this subject, the Third 
Army chief of operations noted at the end 
of August 1944 that there was an indica- 
tion that the army would necessarily have 
to slow its pace "to permit supply echelons 
to make adjustments that would enable 
them to keep up." This was attributed in 
part to the fact that the Third Army was 



responsible for operations on fronts 600 
miles apart, and responsible for a flank of 
over 1,000 miles which it was covering 
with less than two divisions plus the XIX 
Tactical Air Command. 42 

The failure of the Allies to realize their 
hopes of victory in late August may have 
followed in part from a deficiency of op- 
timism on the part of Overlord plan- 
ners. 43 The means of communication, 
built for a slower, more ponderous drive 
than that which developed, could not sus- 
tain the ten- or twenty-day pursuit that 
opened the way to the smashing of the 
enemy short of the Rhine. The original 
supply estimates emphasized the opening 
of the Brittany ports and Le Havre and 
the amassing of supplies west of the Seine 
before beginning a drive toward the Ruhr. 
The Brittany ports were still judged to be 
of primary importance as late as 1 Sep- 
tember. By 9 September, when Generals 
Patton and Bradley discussed the matter, 
there had been a considerable change in 
opinion. General Patton later wrote; "We 
both felt that the taking of Brest at that 
time was useless, because it was too far 
away and the harbor was too badly de- 
stroyed. On the other hand, we agreed 
that, when the American Army had once 
put its hand to the plow, it should not let 
go. Therefore, it was necessary to take 
Brest." 44 At least three excellent divisions 
of the Third Army and valuable transport 

41 Ltr, Col Herbert W. Ehrgott to Ralph Ingersoll, 
25 Jul 46, copy furnished by Ehrgott to Air Historical 
Section, U.S. Air Force. 

42 G-3 Summary for Aug 44, TUSA AAR, I. See 
also Cole, The Lorraine Campaign, p. 22. In his state- 
ment, "the iron rules of logistics were in full operation 
and . . . the Third Army, making an attack sub- 
sidiary to the Allied main effort, would be the first to 
suffer therefrom." 

43 This is discussed fully in Ruppenthal, Logistical 
Support of the Armies, 

44 Patton, War as I Knew It, pp. 127-28. 



260 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



were heavily involved here at a time when 
troops and vehicles were desperately 
needed to the east. 

In hardly any respect were the Allies 
prepared to take advantage of the great 
opportunity offered them to destroy the 
German forces before winter. The build- 
up of men and certain critical supplies 
in the United^ Kingdom, the arrival of 
divisions in France, the requisition and 
transport of civil affairs supplies, the or- 
ganization for military government, 45 the 
rebuilding of rail lines, the laying of pipe- 
lines — virtually the whole intricate mili- 
tary machine was geared to a slower rate 
of advance than that required in late Au- 
gust. Unfortunately the period of the great 
opportunity lasted for only a few weeks 
and there was not sufficient time, however 
vast the effort, to make the necessary read- 
justments in the logistical machinery which 
would insure speedy victory. 

In this period of confusion, of over- 
strained supply lines, of strident demands 
for many different courses of action, most 
of which would have been excellent had 
the means been available, the Supreme 
Commander decided to stick by his initial 
plan of making the main attack in the 
north, with a subsidiary advance in the 
south. In the first bold thrust across the 
Seine, when he wished to clear the Pas-de- 
Calais and capture Antwerp, he approved 
Montgomery's drive to the northeast and 



threw most of the First Army into support 
of the British advance. This required the 
allocation of most of the U.S. gasoline sup- 
plies to the First Army and brought the 
Third Army virtually to a halt just east of 
Paris. When by 5 September the supply 
situation eased slightly General Eisen- 
hower agreed that the Third Army could 
resume its drive toward the Saar and 
Frankfurt and thus returned to the earlier 
SHAEF concept of a dual thrust. At the 
same time he sent all but one corps of the 
First Army northeastward in support of 
the main offensive. Within the next two 
weeks he was to offer the 21 Army Group 
commander the bulk of available locomo- 
tives and rolling stock, the transport of 
three U.S. divisions, and the resources of 
the airborne army. In these various deci- 
sions, he attempted to take advantage of 
any momentary opportunities for exploi- 
tation which might be offered, while 
clinging to the objectives laid down before 
D Day as vital to victory: seizure of indus- 
trial areas essential to Germany's continu- 
ance of the war, use of routes which offered 
the best opportunity for maneuver while 
stretching the enemy's forces over a broad 
front, and elimination of the maximum 
number of Germans west of the fortifica- 
tions of the West Wall and of the Rhine. 

45 For example, policy on the issuance of occupation 
money for Germany was not settled until three weeks 
after the Allies had crossed the German frontier. 



CHAPTER XV 



Command Reorganization, 
June-October 1944 



A number of changes in command ar- 
rangements affecting the Allied Expedi- 
tionary Force marked the period between 
the invasion of Normandy and the entry 
into Germany. These included the Su- 
preme Commander's assumption of direct 
control of the forces in the field, the activa- 
tion of new army group headquarters, the 
shifting of four additional armies to the 
Continent, the clarification of relations be- 
tween SHAEF and U.S. theater staffs, and 
the reorganization of strategic and tactical 
air commands. \(Chart5) \ 

The Ground Forces 

General Eisenhower Takes Command 

The Normandy invasion began under 
an arrangement by which General Mont- 
gomery was to command the ground as- 
sault forces until such time as the Supreme 
Commander should take personal control 
of operations in the field. The date of 
change-over was to be determined in part 
by the build-up of U.S. forces on the Con- 
tinent; no shift appeared necessary so long 
as only one U.S. army was ashore. When, 
however, a second U.S. army should be re- 
quired, the Supreme Commander pro- 
posed to bring forward a U.S. army group 
to co-ordinate the actions of the two U.S. 



armies. He would then decide the point at 
which he should take over the task of co- 
ordinating the British and U.S. army 
groups. 1 

The Third U.S. Army, brought from the 
United States and put under the com- 
mand of General Patton in late 1943, re- 
mained in England during the first weeks 
of the invasion while some of its divisions 
were sent to the Continent for initial use in 
the First Army. The plan for the breakout 
from the Cotentin peninsula required the 
employment of some of these units. At the 
opening of the attack on 25 July, General 
Eisenhower announced that, on a date set 
by General Bradley, the U.S. forces on the 
Continent were to be regrouped under the 
12th Army Group. 2 An additional state- 
ment to the effect that U.S. assault forces 
were to remain under General Mont- 
gomery until General Eisenhower allo- 
cated a specific area of responsibility for 



1 Memo, Command and Organization after D Day 
Overlord, 1 Jun 44, SHAEF G-3 322.01 1-1 Com- 
mand and Control of U.S. /British Forces. 

2 This army group had initially been called 1st U.S. 
Army Group and had been commanded since Oc- 
tober 1943 by General Bradley. For purposes of de- 
ceiving the Germans, it now became 12th Army 
Group. First U.S. Army Group was retained on 
paper and in the German imagination. As already 
noted, General McNair and, later, General DeWitt 
were appointed to head this paper army group to 
maintain the fiction. 



COMMAND REORGANIZATION, JUNE-OCTOBER 1944 



263 



the U.S. army group immediately led to 
some confusion in the press. 3 Although the 
12th Army Group became active on the 
Continent on 1 August and Montgomery 
channeled his orders to the U.S. armies 
through it, the 21 Army Group com- 
mander retained over-all control until 1 
September. 

This arrangement was valuable in that 
it permitted one commander to co-ordi- 
nate Allied forces during the period of the 
breakout and pursuit. But it led many 
people in Great Britain and the United 
States to overestimate the degree to which 
General Bradley's army group was sub- 
ordinated to General Montgomery. 
Throughout August, General Mont- 
gomery continued as before to issue oper- 
ational instructions to the U.S. forces, but 
he consulted General Bradley increasingly 
as a partner instead of a subordinate and 
gave him great latitude in directing the 
U.S. forces. General Bradley presented 
some of his plans directly to General 
Eisenhower. The difference in the com- 
mand relationship which existed between 
the 21 Army Group and the U.S. forces in 
June and July and the arrangement in 
effect in August was largely that between 
the direction of an operation and the co- 
ordination of a joint effort. 4 

On the day General Bradley assumed 
command of 12th Army Group on the 
Continent, the Third U.S. Army became 
operational. The enemy was aware almost 
immediately that General Patton was in 
action and announced the news to the 
world, although the Allied press was for- 
bidden to print any notice of the fact. 
Some of General Patton's subordinates 
criticized the ban severely, charging 
SHAEF with jealousy of their chief. 
SHAEF had explained its reason for this 
action in the memorandum of 25 July on 



command reorganization. Desiring to con- 
tinue the threat against the Pas-de-Calais 
based on the suggestion that General 
Patton had an army group in the United 
Kingdom poised for an attack, SHAEF 
asked that the Third Army commander's 
presence on the Continent be kept secret 
until it was certain that the Germans had 
positively identified him. Since a common 
trick of the enemy was to announce the ar- 
rival of new units in the hope of getting a 
confirmation or denial, SHAEF waited 
several days before making a statement. 
When it did come, without any explana- 
tion of the reason for secrecy, the feeling 
was heightened that Supreme Head- 
quarters had some ulterior reason for its 
silence. 5 

Scarcely had criticism of SHAEF's han- 
dling of the Patton story subsided when a 
greater Uproar arose over the announce- 
ment of the activation of the new U.S. 
army group. In mid- August, as a result of 
a censor's error, press correspondents were 
allowed to announce that 12th Army 
Group had been activated and that Gen- 
eral Bradley was now equal in authority 
with General Montgomery. Since the 
latter statement would not become true 
until General Eisenhower assumed direct 
command in the field, an arrangement 
scheduled for 1 September, SHAEF 
officials denied the statement without 
adding that the change would be made 
within a short time. Some London papers, 

3 Memo, Eisenhower for Bradley, 25 Jul 44, sub: 
Comd and Organization U.S. Ground Forces, 
SHAEF G-3 322.01 1-1 Command and Control of 
U.S. /British Forces. The same file contains a letter 
from Bradley to Montgomery, 19 July 1944, suggest- 
ing this arrangement, and Montgomery's agreement. 

4 See above, p. 198, for Bradley's description of 
command relations. 

5 Memo, Eisenhower to Bradley, 25 Jul 44, 
SHAEF G-3 322.01 1-1 Command and Control of 
U.S. /British Forces. 



264 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



unaware of the projected command ar- 
rangements, sharply attacked the original 
statement, asking that persons responsible 
for it be punished and that an apology be 
made to General Montgomery. In the 
United States some newspapers lashed out 
at the command arrangements in Europe 
saying that British officers had been given 
the posts of ground, air, and naval com- 
manders, thus reducing General Eisen- 
hower to the role of figurehead. Fearing 
that this criticism would spread and be 
injected into Congressional debate, Gen- 
eral Marshall wrote General Eisenhower 
that "The Secretary [Mr. Stimson] and I 
and apparently all Americans" were 
strongly of the opinion that it was time for 
the Supreme Commander to take direct 
command — at least of the U.S. forces. To 
this recommendation, already made by 
Tedder and Smith, General Marshall 
added: "The astonishing success of the 
campaign up to the present moment has 
evoked emphatic expression of confidence 
in you and Bradley. The late announce- 
ment I have just referred to has cast a 
damper on the public enthusiasm." e 

General Eisenhower was startled by the 
reaction and indicated that General Brad- 
ley shared his feelings. Apparently irri- 
tated, he replied: "It seems that so far as 
the press and public are concerned a re- 
sounding victory is not sufficient; the ques- 
tion of 'how' is equally important." It 
would be a great pity, he agreed, if Gen- 
eral Bradley were denied full credit for his 
brilliant work "merely because general 
instructions and policies he has pursued 
have been channeled through Mont- 
gomery." The current command arrange- 
ment, he noted, had been adopted because 
it was impossible to move Supreme Head- 
quarters to the Continent until an ade- 
quate communications network could be 



secured to connect the United Kingdom 
and the Continent. While waiting for this 
development, General Eisenhower added, 
he had found it necessary to make one per- 
son responsible for the temporary control 
of ground forces in Normandy and had 
chosen General Montgomery on the basis 
of seniority and experience. In carrying 
out that task, the British commander had 
worked always under plans approved by 
the Supreme Commander, who made his 
influence felt by frequent visits to the 
battlefront. By 19 August, General Eisen- 
hower was inclined to agree with the U.S. 
Chief of Staff that the time for a change 
was near at hand, and he hoped that the 
establishment of new communications 
would make possible the move of SHAEF 
to the Continent on 1 September. Even 
in the absence of such direct control, the 
Supreme Commander still felt justified in 
saying, "No major effort takes place in this 
Theater by ground, sea or air except with 
my approval and no one in the Allied 
Command presumes to question my su- 
preme authority and responsibility for the 
whole campaign." 7 

Anticipating his assumption of direct 
control in the field, General Eisenhower 
had sent his headquarters commandant 
and the chief of the Signal Division to the 
Continent in early August to find a site 
which would have adequate communica- 
tions for Supreme Headquarters. Toward 
the end of August, they decided that Jul- 
louville, a small town just south of Gran- 
ville at the base of the Cotentin peninsula, 

6 Marshall to Eisenhower, W-82265, 17 Aug 44; 
Surles to Eisenhower, 19 Aug 44. Both in SHAEF cbl 
log. Copies of articles in London Daily Mirror, Wash- 
ington Times-Herald, and other papers in Diary Office 
CinC, 19 Aug 44; Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, p. 
300. 

7 Eisenhower to Marshall, CPA 90230, 19 Aug 44, 
SHAEF cbl log. 



COMMAND REORGANIZATION, JUNE-OCTOBER 1944 



265 




GENERAL SIMPSON. (Photograph 
taken in 1945.) 

would serve. With this assurance, the Su- 
preme Commander announced that he 
would assume direct operational control 
on 1 September with General Montgom- 
ery and General Bradley as respective 
commanders of the Northern and Central 
Groups of Armies. 8 

SHAEF became operational on the 
Continent on 1 September at Jullouville. 
Its forces, now consisting of two army 
groups (21 and 12th) and four armies, 
were soon augmented by another army 
group and three armies. One of these 
armies, the Ninth, which had been 
brought to the United Kingdom shortly 
before the invasion, became operational 
under Lt. Gen. William H. Simpsonon 5 
September 1944 and was assignedto the 
1 2th Army Group. On that date General 



Simpson took command of all forces in the 
Brittany peninsula which had been op- 
erating there under General Patton's com- 
mand. 9 The other units, which were even 
then engaged in the battle for southern 
France, were shortly to be incorporated 
into General Eisenhower's command as 
the 6th Army Group. 

Command of ANVIL/ DRAGOON Forces 

General Eisenhower had assumed be- 
fore D Day that one U.S. and one British 
army group would be sufficient to control 
Allied forces on the Continent. He did not 
object, however, in July 1944 when the 
War Department suggested that the 6th 
Army Group be created to command the 
Allied forces that would land in the south 
of France. Both the War Department and 
Headquarters, North African Theater of 
Operations (NATOUSA), emphasized 
that this additional army group was 
needed to co-ordinate civil affairs and to 
assure U.S. control of the operation. The 
Supreme Commander also agreed to the 
selection of General Devers for the 6th 
Army Group post. To dispel a rumor that 
he was opposed to the appointment, he 
cabled Washington that, while he did not 
know General Devers well, all reports 
were that he was doing a fine job and had 
the faculty of inspiring troops. 10 

General Wilson, Supreme Commander 
in the Mediterranean, and General Eisen- 
hower agreed before the landings in south- 
ern France that troops put ashore in that 



8 Eisenhower to all cornels, 25 Aug 44, SHAEF cbl 
log. 

9 Conquer: The Story of Ninth Army, p. 21. 

10 Eisenhower to Marshall, 1 2 Jul 44, Eisenhower 
personal file. 



266 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



area would ultimately be placed under 
SHAEF, but probably not until they had 
advanced in strength north of Lyon. Be- 
fore that time General Eisenhower was to 
keep General Wilson informed of his 
scheme of action in order that the Medi- 
terranean commander's campaign would 
conform to Overlord operations. SHAEF 
was not ready to take over the mainte- 
nance of the 6th Army Group imme- 
diately; reserve stocks of supplies in the 
Mediterranean could be used for some 
weeks to support the forces in southern 
France. General Eisenhower also proposed 
that Allied Force Headquarters retain re- 
sponsibility for civil affairs in the south of 
France as long as that headquarters con- 
tinued to supply the Anvil/Dragoon 
forces. These suggestions were accepted by 
General Wilson. 11 

The rapid advance of the Anvil armies 
from the south and the sweep of the Over- 
lord forces to the east in the opening days 
of September hastened SHAEF's assump- 
tion of the operational control of units 
coming from the south. At 0001, 15 Sep- 
tember, in accordance with the order of 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff, the 6th 
Army Group became operational under 
the command of General Devers. It and 
the First French and Seventh U.S. Armies 
passed from Allied Force Headquarters to 
SHAEF. The Twelfth Air Force handed 
over the XII Tactical Air Command to the 
Ninth Air Force. For the moment, Allied 
Force Headquarters retained responsi- 
bility for the administration, logistical sup- 
port, and maintenance of Anvil/Dragoon 
forces and civil affairs in the south of 
France. 12 

Fifteenth Army 

Before the second U.S. army was com- 




GENERAL GEROW. (Photograph taken 
in 1948.) 

mitted in Normandy, the War Depart- 
ment made plans to activate a fifth U.S. 
army, the Fifteenth, which was ultimately 
to be added to the forces under the Su- 
preme Commander's control. The army 
was activated at Fort Sam Houston, Tex., 
in August 1 944. It began operations in the 
United Kingdom in late November of the 
same year. Toward the end of December 
the unit began moving to the Continent 
where it became operational on 6 January 
1945. Ten days later General Gerow, com- 

11 Eisenhower to Marshall and Wilson, FWD 
13445, 31 Aug 44; Wilson to Eisenhower, FX-91666, 
3 Sep 44. Both in AFHQCAO 1202, Anvil (20-A 
134 E). Eisenhower to Marshall, 31 Aug 44, Diary 
Office CinC. 

12 AFHQ to 6th A Gp, FX 24922, 14 Sep 44; 
SHAEF to 6th A Gp, FWD 14827, 14 Sep 44. Both 
in AFHQCAO 1202| Anvil (20-A, 134 E). 



COMMAND REORGANIZATION, JUNE-OCTOBER 1944 



267 



mander of V Corps, took command of the 
new army. 13 

SHAEF, ETOUSA, and Communications ^pne 
in 1944 

General Eisenhower's dual role of Su- 
preme Commander and U.S. theater 
commander was accompanied by some 
complications in the handling of U.S. ad- 
ministrative and supply matters on the 
Continent in 1944-45. Basically the diffi- 
culty arose because General Eisenhower 
did not wish to set up a separate theater 
administrative staff. He realized that there 
existed a shortage of qualified staff officers 
and that it was necessary if possible to 
avoid establishing an additional staff. He 
tended frequently, therefore, to call upon 
U.S. members of the SHAEF G-4 Divi- 
sion as well as members of Headquarters, 
Communications Zone, for advice in ad- 
ministration and supply matters. 14 

In mid-January 1944, General Eisen- 
hower had consolidated Headquarters, 
European Theater of Operations, U.S. 
Army, which was responsible for all U.S. 
forces in the theater, and Headquarters, 
Services of Supply, which had the chief re- 
sponsibility for mounting and supplying 
the U.S. part of the operation. At the same 
time he appointed Maj. Gen. John C. H. 
Lee, the Services of Supply commander, as 
deputy theater commander with special 
responsibilities for administration and 
supply. General Lee's tasks included com- 
mand of the Communications Zone 
troops in the United Kingdom and on 
the Continent, necessary activities in con- 
nection with static defense, and perform- 
ance of additional duties delegated by the 
theater commander. 15 

Several problems soon developed out 
of the new arrangements. Combat com- 



manders did not like the fact that the chief 
of the services of supply was in a position 
to control the inflow of reinforcements and 
supplies in such a way as to discriminate 
against the field forces. Since there was no 
other U.S. headquarters to act as an um- 
pire, the U.S. members of the G-4 Divi- 
sion, SHAEF, sometimes found themselves 
acting as General Eisenhower's advisers in 
these matters. General Lee and his staff 
felt that the SHAEF G-4, General Craw- 
ford, was attempting to control all U.S. 
supply matters. Shortly before D Day, 
General Lee asked for a clarification of the 
whole command relationship. On D Day, 
General Smith drafted an order saying 
that General Eisenhower would use U.S. 
members of the SHAEF staff only in those 
purely U.S. matters which remained under 
his direct control. 16 

General Eisenhower found that he had 
to intervene personally in the matter in 
early June and again in mid-July. On the 
latter occasion, he emphasized that the de- 
termination of broad policies, objectives, 
and priorities affecting two or more major 
U.S. commands was the responsibility of 
the U.S. theater commander. He proposed 
to delegate part of these duties to the 
major commands — 12th Army Group, 
Communications Zone, and USSTAF. 
General Eisenhower stipulated, however, 
that as theater commander he would 
utilize both the U.S. elements of the 
SHAEF staff and the chiefs of special and 

13 History of the Fifteenth United States Army, 21 Aug- 
ust 1944 to 11 July 1945 (apparently printed in Ger- 
many, 1946), pp. 6-18. 

14 Eisenhower note for author, Aug 5 1 ; Ltr, Lt Col 
Roy Lamson to Maj Gen Orlando Ward, Chief of 
Military History, 9 Aug 5 1 . Both in OCMH files. 

15 Hq ETOUSA GO 5, 17 Jan 44. ETOUSA files. 

16 Ltr, Lee to Eisenhower, 29 May 44; Draft GO 
by Gen Smith, 6 Jun 44. Both in SHAEF SGS 322 
ETOUSA, Organization and Administrative Com- 
mand. 



268 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



technical services of ETOUSA for 
advice. 17 

In order that no question should remain 
in the minds of his staff members, General 
Eisenhower on 21 July laid down the pro- 
cedure for carrying out "so-called Ameri- 
can administration in this Allied theater of 
operations." Communications with vari- 
ous U.S. headquarters on supply were to 
be channeled through the Communica- 
tions Zone commander, since he retained 
all theater duties except decisions and 
policy on major differences among the 
principal U.S. commands. Because it was 
clearly impossible to separate U.S. and 
Allied matters completely, General Eisen- 
hower added, he would habitually use 
"the senior U.S. officer in each of our sev- 
eral sections as an advisor on applicable 
U.S. matters, when the subject is of the 
type that requires the Theater Com- 
mander to take personal action." Although 
this arrangement, he noted, did not make 
SHAEF officers part of the theater staff, 
they were "convenient agents responsible 
to me for advice and where necessary, for 
following up something of particular 
importance." 18 

The new system failed to satisfy either 
the Communications Zone or SHAEF G- 
4 staffs. The former felt that the situation 
was unsatisfactory in that it separated the 
theater commander from his staff, required 
the expansion of U.S. personnel at SHAEF 
to handle supply matters, and weakened 
the position of Communications Zone 
relative to other U.S. commands in Eu- 
rope which tended to look to SHAEF in 
administrative matters. Army group and 
army commanders were likewise dissatis- 
fied with the arrangements of mid-July. 
The supply problems that developed in 
late August and early September, particu- 
larly the ammunition and gasoline short- 



ages, led to strong criticism of Headquar- 
ters, Communications Zone. As a result, 
General Crawford, the SHAEF G-4, in 
mid-September asked that the U.S. mem- 
bers of the SHAEF staff be given "a con- 
siderably greater measure of supervision 
than [seemed] to be contemplated by ex- 
isting orders." He did not mean that Gen- 
eral Lee's staff should cease to function, 
but held that increased supervision by 
SHAEF was required in such matters as 
speeding up ammunition for U.S. units in 
the Brest peninsula, shifting U.S. supplies 
to the 21 Army Group, and allocating 
rolling stock. An alternative solution, he 
added, was to attach strong elements of 
Communications Zone to SHAEF to act 
directly under the Supreme Com- 
mander. 19 General Eisenhower did not 
take action on these proposals, and the 
same general organization continued to 
exist until the end of 1944. While the ad- 
ministrative system was marked by fric- 
tion, its functioning was assured by the 
fact that Generals Eisenhower and Smith 
were sufficiently near Communications 
Zone to make sure that difficulties were 
held to a minimum and that their opera- 
tional decisions were promptly imple- 
mented. 



17 Memo, DDE [Eisenhower] for CofS SHAEF, 
18 Jul 44, issued 19 Jul 44 by Hq ETOUSA as Memo 
on Organization and Command of U.S. Forces, 
SHAEF AG 322.1 (ETO). 

18 Memo, Eisenhower for CofS SHAEF, 21 Jul 44, 
SHAEF SGS 322 ETOUSA, Organization and Ad- 
ministrative Command. 

19 [Robert W. Coakley], Organization and Com- 
mand in the ETO, Pt. II of The Administrative and 
Logistical History of the ETO, Hist Div USFET, 
1946, MS, II, 209-16; General Board Rpt 127, Or- 
ganization and Functions of the Communications 
Zone, Ch. I, pp. 9-10; Crawford to CofS SHAEF, 
18 Sep 44, SHAEF SGS 322 ETOUSA, Organization 
and Administrative Control. See also Ruppenthal, 
Logistical Support of the Armies, for a discussion of com- 
mand organization in the European theater. 



COMMAND REORGANIZATION, JUNE-OCTOBER 1944 



269 



The Air and Naval Forces 

Formation of the First 
Allied Airborne Army 

The establishment of the First Allied 
Airborne Army under SHAEF to co-ordi- 
nate the varied elements of air and ground 
forces essential for airborne operations on 
the Continent was one of the major com- 
mand changes of 1944. Such co-ordina- 
tion proved necessary because parachute 
and glider troops used in the airborne op- 
erations were part of the ground force or- 
ganization, while the aircraft which 
carried the troops, furnished escorts, and 
resupplied the airborne units were under 
air force command. The problem became 
further complicated when both British 
and U.S. air and ground forces were in- 
volved. To simplify the command difficul- 
ties and make possible the thorough ex- 
ploitation of airborne forces, the First 
Al lied A irborne Army was created. 
\( Chart 6)\ 

Back of the formation of a special army 
headquarters to plan and carry out air- 
borne operations was the campaign of the 
War Department for greater strategic use 
of airborne forces. Since February 1944, 
Generals Marshall and Arnold had reit- 
erated to the Supreme Commander the 
importance of strategic employment of 
these units. General Eisenhower agreed 
with their views in principle, but, as has 
been observed, doubted the feasibility of 
using them strategically in the opening 
phases of the assault when it would be dif- 
ficult if not impossible to open lines of 
communications to them. As the War De- 
partment continued to press for a strategic 
airborne operation using up to six divi- 
sions, it became evident that an airborne 
headquarters which could plan and exe- 



cute such activities was necessary. On 20 
May 1944, SHAEF set the period between 
12 and 26 June as the time for the activa- 
tion of such an organization. Two weeks 
later, SHAEF asked AEAF and the army 
groups for their reactions to a plan by 
which airborne divisions and necessary air 
forces would be brought under one organi- 
zation for planning, command, and co-or- 
dination. The 21 Army Group approved 
but asked that the activation be post- 
poned until SHAEF assumed operational 
command of the ground forces. The U.S. 
army group disapproved on the ground 
that United States airborne troops should 
be controlled by a U.S. rather than an Al- 
lied command. On 20 June, General 
Eisenhower approved the organization of 
a combined United States-British Air- 
borne Troop Command, established as a 
modified corps headquarters under a U.S. 
Army Air Forces officer with the rank of 
lieutenant general. The new headquarters 
was to be activated about the time SHAEF 
became operational on the Continent. 20 

In explaining his action to General 
Marshall, General Eisenhower declared 
that it was necessary because a suitable 
agency was lacking for joint planning be- 
tween the troop carrier command and the 
airborne divisions. The airborne com- 
mander, he said, would be able to assume 
such responsibilities as joint training, de- 
velopment of operational projects, and 
logistical support of airborne operations 
until these functions could be taken over 
by normal agencies. If an airborne attack 
by two or three divisions took place in a 

20 Memo, SHAEF G-3 for CofS SHAEF, 20 May 
44; SHAEF G-3 to FUSAG, 2 1 A Gp, and AEAF, 
sub: Establishment of Combined U.S. -Br Airborne 
Troops Hq, 2 Jun 44; 21 A Gp to SHAEF, 4 Jun 44; 
FUSAG to SHAEF, 8 Jun 44; AEAF to SHAEF, 8 
Jun 44; Memo, Gen Smith for G-3, 20 Jun 44. All in 
SHAEF G-3 Formation of FAAA 17281/1/Airborne. 



Chart 6— Operational Channels, First Allied Airborne Army, 28 November 1 



SUPREME COMMANDER 
ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE 



Allied Noval Commander 
Expeditionary Force 



Ground Unit to Which 
Airborne Are Attached 



FIRST ALLIED AIRBORNE ARMY 
HEADQUARTERS (FAA A) 



SFHQ 



IX TROOP 
CARRIER COMMAND 



XVIII CORPS 
(AIRBORNE) (US) 



HEADOUARTERS 
AIRBORNE CORPS 
(BRITISH) 



RAF TRANSPORT s TROOP 
CARRIER FORMATION 
WHEN ALLOCATED 



1 3th A/B Div (1 5 Feb 45) 



SAS TROOPS 



mmmmmm—mmm COMMAND 

■ CO-ORDINATION 



Source; Statistic! Sec, SGS, SHAEF, 



COMMAND REORGANIZATION, JUNE-OCTOBER 1944 



271 



single area, a temporary corps commander 
would be designated to conduct the fight- 
ing on the ground. He would operate un- 
der directives from the airborne headquar- 
ters until he joined the nearest army, 
which would then take operational and 
logistical responsibility for his units. 21 No 
persuasion seemed to be necessary so far as 
the U.S. Chief of Staff was concerned if 
one may judge by the Ninth Air Force 
commander's remark of mid-July that he 
knew "General Marshall had insisted on 
the creation of an airborne army." 22 

In mid-July both the AEAF and the 
Ninth Air Force commanders proposed 
changes in the airborne command scheme. 
Lt. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, the Ninth Air 
Force chief, felt he should be given re- 
sponsibility for airborne operations inas- 
much as the major airborne troop carrier 
forces were American. The AEAF com- 
mander, Air Chief Marshal Leigh-Mal- 
lory, proposed that U.S. airborne forces be 
placed under a special corps commander 
and that both U.S. and British airborne 
troops be unified under one command. At 
the same time, he wished to limit the lat- 
ter command to control of the ground 
forces, while reserving for AEAF respon- 
sibility for all air aspects of airborne op- 
erations. 23 

SHAEF replied with the reminder that 
General Eisenhower had studied the air- 
borne problem for more than one and one- 
half years and that he felt the proposed re- 
organization the proper one. On 8 August, 
Supreme Headquarters announced the 
establishment of Combined Airborne 
Headquarters, and eight days later, at the 
suggestion of its new commander, it was 
renamed the First Allied Airborne Army. 
General Brereton was appointed chief of 
the new headquarters, and Lt. Gen. F. A. 
M. Browning, commander of the British 



Airborne Corps, was named his deputy. 24 
Placed under the new army were IX 
Troop Carrier Command, XVIII U.S. 
Corps (Airborne) headquarters, British. 
Airborne Troops, including 1st Polish 
Parachute Brigade, and the Combined 
Air Transport Operations Room 
(CATOR). Royal Air Force Transport 
and Troop Carrier formations were placed 
under First Allied Airborne Army only 
when specifically allocated. 25 

At the request of AEAF, Supreme 
Headquarters announced on 18 August 
that the First Allied Airborne Army would 
control its own airlift, but that AEAF 
would retain the responsibility for sup- 
porting air operations. In September, the 
functions of General Brereton 's command 
were further limited by an agreement that 
the First Allied Airborne Army would 
confine itself to outline planning and to 
operational command. Headquarters, Air- 
borne Troops, though under the opera- 
tional command of General Brereton, was 

21 Marshall to Eisenhower, W-56294, 26Jun44; 
Arnold to Spaatz and Smith, WX-6 1 600, 7 Jul 44; 
Eisenhower to Marshall, S-55192, 8 Jul 44. All in 
SHAEF G-3 Formation of FAAA 1728 1/1 /Airborne. 

22 Brereton, The Brereton Diaries, entry for 1 7 July 
1944, p. 309. 

23 Ltr, Brereton to Eisenhower, 25 Jul 44, sub: 
Organization and Contemplated Opns of Air Army; 
Leigh-Mallory to Eisenhower, 1 7 Jul 44, sub: Organi- 
zation of a Combined U.S.-Br Airborne Troop Hq. 
Both in SHAEF SGS 322 FAAA, Organization and 
Command FAAA. 

24 General Brereton's selection brought a general 
shift in which he was succeeded as head of Ninth Air 
Force by Maj. Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, then 
Deputy Air Commander-in-Chief, AEAF. Vanden- 
berg was replaced by Maj. Gen. Ralph Royce, 
Deputy Commanding General, Ninth Air Force. 

25 Memo, SHAEF for WO, Br COS, et al, 8 Aug 
44, sub: Reorganization of Airborne Forces; SHAEF 
dir to Brereton, 8 Aug 44; Brereton to SAC, 4 Aug 
44; Memo by SHAEF G-3, 15 Aug 44; SHAEF 
memo, Redesignation of Combined Airborne Forces, 
16 Aug 44; Smith to AEAF comdr, 18 Aug 44; 
SHAEF dir to AEAF and USAAFE, 9 Aug 44. All in 
SHAEF G-3 Formation of FAAA 17281/1/Airborne. 



272 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 




AIR CHIEF MARSHAL HARRIS 



to have direct access to 21 Army Group or 
the War Office for administrative pur- 
poses. Air-transported formations were to 
remain under the command of ground 
formations concerned, being placed under 
the command of Headquarters, Airborne 
Troops, when necessary. 26 

Strategic Bomber Command 

Among the command shifts of Septem- 
ber, one of the most important was that 
involving the strategic air forces. This was 
made in accordance with the agreement of 
mid- April 1944 by which the Supreme 
Commander had assumed control of the 
strategic air forces supporting Overlord 
operations. It was clearly understood that, 
after the Allied forces had established 
themselves on the Continent, the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff would review the ini- 



tial directive for the employment of the 
bomber forces and the method of their em- 
ployment. 27 At the beginning of Septem- 
ber, General Eisenhower was informed 
that changes in the air command arrange- 
ment would be made at the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff conference shortly to be 
held in Quebec. The Supreme Com- 
mander promptly urged that existing ar- 
rangements be continued. He recalled that 




GENERAL VANDENBERG. (Photo- 
graph taken in 1950.) 

the basic conception underlying the cam- 
paign was the possession of an overpower- 
ing air force which made feasible an other- 

26 Smith to AEAF, 18 Aug 44; Mtg at WO, 22 Sep 
44, to discuss functions of FA AA, SHAEF G-3 Forma- 
tion of FAAA 17281/1 /Airborne. 

21 Memo, CCS for SAC, 27 Mar 44; Portal to 
Spaatz, 13 Apr 44; Air Ministry to Bomber Comd, 13 
Apr 44. All in SHAEF SGS 373/1 Policy re: Control 
and Employment of USSTAF and Bomber Com- 



COMMAND REORGANIZATION, JUNE-OCTOBER 1944 



273 



wise impossible campaign. The air forces 
had lived up to expectations, virtually de- 
stroying the German Air Force, disrupting 
enemy communications, neutralizing 
beach defenses, aiding the ground forces 
to break through enemy lines, and fulfill- 
ing all other demands made on them. 
Meanwhile, the strategic air forces had 
been committed to the greatest extent pos- 
sible on strategic targets and had pre- 
vented substantial rehabilitation of enemy 
industry and oil production. At present 
the ground forces were almost beyond the 
range of medium bombers, and in emer- 
gencies would require heavy bomber sup- 
port. General Eisenhower said that he be- 
lieved this emergency type of aid 
depended on the continuation of the ex- 
isting command system. He added that 
General Spaatz shared his views on the 
existing system. 28 

At the Quebec meeting in mid-Septem- 
ber, the Combined Chiefs of Staff ulti- 
mately decided that considerations in 
addition to those advanced by the Su- 
preme Commander had to be taken into 
account. They concluded on 14 Septem- 
ber that the Chief of the Air Staff, Royal 
Air Force (Portal), and the Commanding 
General, U.S. Army Air Forces (Arnold), 
should exercise control of all strategic 
bomber forces in Europe. The Deputy 
Chief of the Air Staff, RAF (Air Marshal 
Sir Norman H. Bottomley), and the Com- 
manding General, United States Strategic 
Air Forces (Spaatz), were to provide con- 
trol and local co-ordination through con- 
sultation. 29 

A new directive for the strategic air 
forces issued at this time undertook to in- 



mand. For description of the April arrangements, see 
above, p. 125. For general discussion of the shift in 
strategic air forces command see Craven and Cate, 
The Army Air Forces in World War II, III, 3 19-22. 



sure continuation of a broad strategic 
bombing program as well as adequate 
bomber support for General Eisenhower's 
ground operations. The over-all mission of 
the strategic air forces remained "the pro- 
gressive destruction and dislocation of the 
German military, industrial and economic 
systems and the direct support of Land 
and Naval forces." The Supreme Com- 
mander's calls for aid in battle were to be 
filled promptly. The Combined Chiefs of 
Staff were to prescribe attacks in support 
of the Soviet ground forces. 30 The strategic 
air forces were to co-ordinate their activi- 
ties with the operations of the tactical air 
forces, consulting as necessary the AEAF 
commander, who would normally co-ordi- 
nate air action in accordance with ground 
force requirements. In a list of priorities 
worked out by the strategic air force com- 
manders in consultation with Air Chief 
Marshal Tedder, first priority for strategic 
bombing was given to the destruction of 
the petroleum industry with special em- 
phasis on gasoline. Second priority targets 
were the German rail and water trans- 
portation systems, tank production plants 
and depots and ordnance depots, and 
motor transport production plants and 
depots. 31 

While General Eisenhower would have 



28 Eisenhower to Marshall and Arnold, FWD 
13605, 2 Sep 44; Eisenhower to Arnold, FWD 13657, 
3 Sep 44. Both in Eisenhower personal file. 

29 Portal and Arnold to USSTAF for Spaatz, 14 Sep 
44; RAF London to Bottomley, Octagon 29, 14 Sep 
44. Both in SHAEF SGS 373/1 Policy re: Control and 
Employment of USSTAF and Bomber Command. 

30 Portal and Arnold to USSTAF for Spaatz, 14 Sep 
44; RAF London to Bottomley, Octagon 29, 14 Sep 
44. Both in SHAEF SGS 373/1 Policy re: Control and 
Employment of USSTAF and Bomber Command. 

31 Bottomley to Bomber Comd, 25 Sep 44; Spaatz 
to SAC, 3 Oct 44, with attached dir for control of 
strategic air forces in Europe. Both in SHAEF SGS 
373/1 Policy re: Control and Employment of 
USSTAF and Bomber Command. 



274 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



preferred complete control of strategic air 
forces at SHAEF, he told General Mar- 
shall that the new arrangement would be 
satisfactory because of the "goodwill of the 
individuals concerned" and the assurances 
that his operations would be supported. 
He knew he could depend on the backing 
of General Spaatz, and he had found that 
Air Chief Marshal Harris was one of the 
most effective and co-operative members 
of the Allied team. The Supreme Com- 
mander added that the British bomber 
commander had not only met every re- 
quest but had led the way in finding new 
ways and means for particular types of 
planes to be of use on the battlefield. 32 

Allied Expeditionary Air Force 

Less than a month after the shift in the 
strategic air forces command, Air Chief 
Marshal Leigh- Mallory was appointed to 
command the Allied air forces in south- 
eastern Asia, and the Allied Expeditionary 
Air Force was abolished; In September 
1944, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten 
had sounded out General Eisenhower on 
the possibility of getting the AEAF chief 
released to head up the Southeast Asia air 
command. General Arnold opposed this 
shift on the ground that a U.S. and not a 
British airman should be named to the 
post. At the same time, the U.S. air chief 
was strongly in favor of abolishing Head- 
quarters, Allied Expeditionary Air Force, 
which he felt no longer served any useful 
purpose. He found, however, that the chief 
difficulty in getting the headquarters abol- 
ished lay in finding a suitable appoint- 
ment for Leigh- Mallory. General Eisen- 
hower, when informed of this situation, 
cabled General Arnold: 

Under present circumstances I agree we 
could get along without Leigh-Mallory's 



Headquarters. The fact is, however, that 
through every day of this campaign Leigh- 
Mallory has proved his intense desire to co- 
operate and a very admirable grasp of the 
whole situation. Our plans for reorganization 
when and if he is detached will eliminate that 
headquarters and all the functions it has 
been performing will be centered right here 
at SHAEF. But you should not be under any 
misapprehension as to Leigh-Mallory's qual- 
ifications and attitude. Admitting that upon 
first glance he seems to be a bit difficult, he is 
one of the type that never ceases to develop 
and above all, he is a real fighter, which 
I like. He is an experienced and valuable 
officer. 

There is no need to manufacture a job 
merely to get rid of Leigh-Mallory but on the 
other hand, as I explained above, if he is 
taken out of here for any reason I will not as- 
sign another man to his present title. 

The initiative for Leigh-Mallory's even- 
tual release came from the British Air 
Ministry. On 20 September, Sir Archibald 
Sinclair, Secretary of State for Air, pointed 
to decisions which had been made at 
Quebec relative to southeastern Asia and 
added that Air Chief Marshal Leigh- 
Mallory should go out to head the Allied 
air forces there as soon as possible. General 
Eisenhower asked for a delay until 10 or 
15 October inasmuch as Leigh-Mallory 
was intimately mixed up with the heavy 
fighting then in progress. 33 

Allied Expeditionary Air Force was dis- 
solved at 0001, 15 October 1944, shortly 
after Air Chief Marshal Leigh-Mallory 



32 Eisenhower to Marshall, 25 Sep 44, Eisenhower 
personal file. Harris, Bomber Offensive, pp. 214-16, 
indicates that his relations with SHAEF were ex- 
tremely cordial. 

33 Arnold to Eisenhower, 6 Sep 44; Eisenhower to 
Arnold, 14 Sep 44; Sinclair to Eisenhower, 20 Sep 44; 
Eisenhower to Sinclair, 22 Sep 44. All in Diary Office 
CinC, 14, 20, and 22 Sep 44. For a summary of the 
discussion leading to the termination of AEAF, see 
Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces in World 
War II, HI, 620-22. 



COMMAND REORGANIZATION, JUNE-OCTOBER 1944 



275 



left for his new post. 34 SHAEF Air Staff 
was then set up under a Chief of Staff 
(Air), Air Vice Marshal Robb, then serv- 
ing as SHAEF Deputy Chief of Staff (Air), 
to absorb the operational functions of 
AEAF and reallocate its responsibilities. 
Air Chief Marshal Tedder was assigned 
the tasks of co-ordinating the Allied tac- 
tical air forces and of stating the Supreme 
Commander's requirements for strategic 
bombing. Administrative functions pre- 
viously exercised over Royal Air Forces by 
the AEAF commander were now given to 
the commander of 2d Tactical Air Force, 
while similar administrative control of 
U.S. forces remained in the hands of the 
USSTAF commander. 35 

Allied Naval Forces 

The main task of the Allied naval forces 
under SHAEF was completed once the in- 
vading units in southern France had 
linked up with the troops from the Over- 
lord area. Important duties still re- 
mained, however, in connection with such 
matters as guarding troop and supply 
ships in the Channel and off the southern 
coast of France and co-ordinating the ef- 
forts of the Allied naval forces with port 
reconstruction units in western Europe. 
Another major naval concern was plan- 
ning for later campaigns, such as the open- 
ing of Antwerp and the crossing of the 
Rhine, which would require naval 
support. 

Throughout the remainder of the war, 
the Allied naval commander and a small 
staff remained at SHAEF. Admiral Ram- 
say held the post of ANCXF until his 
death in a plane crash at the beginning of 
1945. He was succeeded by Admiral 
Harold M. Burrough. After SHAEF had 
moved across the Channel in the early fall 



of 1944, Admiral Kirk was established at 
that headquarters as head of the U.S. 
naval elements on the Continent. 

Shifts in Locations of Supreme Headquarters 

The numerous command changes be- 
tween June and October 1944 had been 
accompanied by almost as many shifts in 
the locations of Supreme Headquarters. It 
will be recalled that on D Day the main 
force of SHAEF was located at Bushy 
Park near London and General Eisen- 
hower had a small advance command 
post — Sharpener — near General Mont- 
gomery's headquarters at Portsmouth. 
Later in June the Supreme Commander 
decided to enlarge the forward headquar- 
ters at Portsmouth. On 1 July, a tented 
camp capable of housing 400 officers and 
1,000 enlisted men was opened. 36 Mem- 
bers from all the divisions of the head- 
quarters were present, but G-2, G-3, and 
Secretary, General Staff, personnel pre- 
dominated. Adequate telephone, tele- 
printer, and radio facilities kept the head- 
quarters in close connection with the War 
Office, the War Department, and the 
army groups. Four daily flights in addition 
to the usual dispatch-rider letter service 
connected SHAEF Forward and SHAEF 
Main. 37 



34 Leigh-Mallory was killed in November in a 
plane crash while en route to the Southeast Asia 
Command. 

35 SHAEF Memo, 14 Oct 44, sub: Command and 
Control of Allied Air Forces, SHAEF G-3 322.01 1-1 
Ops A Command and Control of U.S./British Forces; 
Notes of mtg at SHAEF Fwd, 3 Oct 44, to decide 
RAF organization at SHAEF in place of AEAF, 
SHAEF SGS 322 SHAEF, Organization of SHAEF, I. 

36 This headquarters was known by the code name 
Shipmate. See movement orders to Portsmouth in 
SHAEF SGS 370.5/4 Location of Battle Hq AEF, and 
SHAEF SGS 370.5-1 Movement of SHAEF. 

37 Details on camps given to author by Maj. George 
S. Bare and Miss Mattie A. Pinette, formerly of Gen- 



276 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Plans made before D Day to establish 
SHAEF advance command posts near 
both U.S. and British army headquarters 
on the Continent were not fully carried 
out. On 7 August, however, General 
Eisenhower established a small advance 
headquarters, known as Shellburst, in a 
combined tent and trailer camp near 
Tournieres, twelve miles southwest of 
Bayeux. 

By the time of the move to Tournieres, 
SHAEF officials were planning a move of 
the Forward Headquarters from Ports- 
mouth to the Continent. The new head- 
quarters was constructed on the grounds 
of La colonie scolaire de St. Ouen, a school on 
the outskirts of Jullouville. The largest 
building of the school housed the commu- 
nications center, the War Room, and 
messes, as well as providing billets for fe- 
male personnel. Offices were located in 
prefabricated huts, while officers and men 
were quartered in tents. The chief prob- 
lem in establishing the headquarters was 
the installation of adequate communica- 
tions for Supreme Headquarters at Jullou- 
ville, and for the nearby forward echelons 
of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force, the 
Allied Naval Expeditionary Force, the 
U.S. Strategic Air Forces, and the French 
command, which were located in and 
around Granville. Accommodations were 
provided initially at Jullouville for 1,500 
officers and men, but they soon proved in- 
sufficient as signal units, supply detach- 
ments, and other groups needed by a large 
headquarters were brought in. While the 

eral Eisenhower's staff. Chief sources for this section, 
unless otherwise noted, are: SHAEF SG C 370.5/4 
Site Plans— Portsmouth; SHAEF SGS 370.5/4 Loca- 
tion of Battle Headquarters, I, II; SHAEF SGS 370.5- 
1 Movement of SHAEF; Intervs with Brig Gen 
Robert Q. Brown, Hq Commandant SHAEF, and Lt 
Col H.J. Rothwell, Camp Commandant SHAEF; Ltr, 
Maj Bare to author. 



general and special staff divisions at 
SHAEF Forward numbered only some 
318 officers and 478 enlisted men, the at- 
tached units ultimately pushed the total 
to 750 officers and 2,500 men. Movement 
to the new headquarters from Portsmouth 
began on 28 August, five parties coming 
by sea and air at staggered intervals. The 
small camp at Tournieres was integrated 
in Forward Headquarters while Main 
Headquarters remained for the time being 
at Bushy Park. 

By the time Forward Headquarters of 
SHAEF opened at Jullouville, the tide of 
battle had shifted from Normandy to 
points beyond the Seine. The situation 
gave rise to the criticism that the Supreme 
Commander was too far removed from the 
front lines at one of the most critical parts 
of the battle. Almost as soon as he reached 
Jullouville, he ordered preparations made 
to move both Forward and Main echelons 
of Supreme Headquarters nearer the com- 
bat zone. He had previously emphasized 
that when a second move was made, the 
headquarters should be near a major 
communications center. On no condition, 
however, was it to be in a large city, par- 
ticularly Paris, where there were "too 
many temptations to go night clubbing." 
Versailles was ultimately chosen as the 
new site. On 6 September, General Eisen- 
hower, who was attempting to keep in 
touch with his commanders by jeep and 
plane, directed that his headquarters 
move forward as soon as it could without 
inconveniencing the 12th Army Group, 
which had its headquarters located in that 
vicinity. The move was to include all or- 
ganizations located near Jullouville and 
Granville. As soon as possible, SHAEF 
Main was to be brought from the United 
Kingdom. The headquarters began its 
move from Normandy to Versailles on 15 



COMMAND REORGANIZATION, JUNE-OCTOBER 1944 



277 




TRIANON PALACE HOTEL, SHAEF Headquarters. 



September and opened there officially on 
the 20th. 

Offices of the general staff divisions 
were established in the Trianon Palace 
Hotel near grounds of the Petit Trianon. 
Special staff sections were located in the 
Grandes Ecuries, and the Air Staff in the 
Petites Ecuries. Hotels Reservoir, Royale, 
and Vittel were also used. Enlisted men 
were billeted in Satory Camp, and officers 
in homes along the Seine between St. 
Cloud and St. Germain-en- Laye. New 
buildings had to be requisitioned contin- 
ually as the number of assigned and at- 
tached units increased. General Vulliamy, 
the chief of the Signal Division, pointed 
out that within a week after the move the 
estimated figures were more than 

In accordance with his poli 



a small advance headquarters as near as 
possible to the army groups, General 
Eisenhower in early September directed 
that a camp be built forward of Versailles. 
This headquarters was opened on 19 Sep- 
tember at Gueux about seven miles north- 
west of Reims, just off the Laon highway. 
As in Normandy it consisted of a small 
staff installed in tents and trailers. Instead 
of an orchard, the men used the grounds 
and clubhouse belonging to the Athletic 
Club of Reims. General Eisenhower con- 
tinued to use this advance site until 17 
February 1945 when the forward echelon 
of SHAEF moved to Reims. He, of course, 



se An advance party of the Seine Base Section esti- 
mated before the move that SHAEF would ultimately 
require space for 2,000 officers and 10,000 enlisted 
men, and 750,000 square feet of office space. 



278 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



retained offices in Versailles and in 
London. 39 

At the end of September, various 
echelons of SHAEF Main began their 
move from the United Kingdom to Ver- 
sailles by air. The move was completed by 
5 October. Rear Headquarters, SHAEF, 
consisting of approximately 1,500 officers 
and men, moved from Bushy Park to 
Bryanston Square in London on 9-10 
October. A small contingent was located 
at Goodge Street Tunnel, which was now 
used as an underground storage place for 
important SHAEF records. 

While at Versailles, SHAEF made great 
progress in improving its communications 
facilities. The French postal, telegraph, 
and telephone service (PTT) helped to 
establish the Paris Military Switchboard, 
which provided trunk service by connect- 
ing military exchanges in other centers to 
the Paris exchange via the French PTT 
system. To avoid confusion SHAEF took 
control of the main trunk telecommunica- 
tions network and established the AEF 
Long Lines Control to allocate circuits in 
the rehabilitated French systems. 40 Radio 
communication between the Supreme 
Commander and his army group com- 



manders was assured in early September 
by the establishment of several radio cir- 
cuits known as Redline which were set up 
exclusively for messages to and from the 
Supreme Commander. 

By I October, the Supreme Com- 
mander had gathered firmly into his 
hands the control of Allied forces from 
Holland to the Mediterranean and from 
the German frontier westward to the At- 
lantic. He commanded as well U.S. air 
and ground forces in the United King- 
dom. Under his direct control he had one 
British, one Canadian, one French, one 
Allied airborne, and four U.S. armies as 
well as the British and U.S. tactical air 
forces. While he no longer controlled any 
part of the strategic air forces, he still had 
first call on them for necessary support of 
his ground operations. With his head- 
quarters set up on the Continent and with 
an adequate radio and telegraphic link to 
his chief subordinates, he could now per- 
sonally direct operations against the Third 
Reich. 



39 Details on this advance headquarters were 
furnished the author by Major Bare in a letter of 7 
November 1949. 

40 Rpt of Signal Div, SHAEF, Vols. IV, V, OGMH. 



CHAPTER XVI 



Fighting in the North 



The great drive across northern France 
and Belgium began to lose its momentum 
in the first week of September and was 
showing signs of coming to a halt by the 
middle of the month as Allied lines of sup- 
ply became intolerably stretched. Shortly 
thereafter the Allies launched an airborne 
operation (Market-Garden) in the 
Netherlands in the hope of establishing a 
bridgehead across the Rhine before the 
enemy could reorganize his forces for an 
effective defense. 

Background of Operations in the Netherlands 

In agreeing to the operation Market- 
Garden, General Eisenhower seems to 
have been influenced not only by a desire 
to get a bridgehead across the Rhine but 
by the hope of utilizing the First Allied 
Airborne Army, which had been awaiting 
action since July and August. Aware that 
Generals Marshall and Arnold were both 
deeply interested in the strategic use of 
airborne forces, General Eisenhower had 
sought a suitable occasion for employing 
these resources. In mid-July he asked for 
an airborne plan marked by imagination 
and daring which would make a maxi- 
mum contribution to the destruction of 
German armies in western Europe. The 
desire to implement such a plan helped to 
influence the foundation of the First Allied 
Airborne Army. When various factors de- 
layed its organization, the Supreme Com- 



mander told General Smith: "... Brere- 
ton should be working in his new job in- 
stantly. Please inform him that I am par- 
ticularly anxious about the navigational 
qualifications of the transport command 
crews. He is to get on this in an intensive 
way. He is to keep me in touch with his 
progress. There is nothing we are under- 
taking about which I am more concerned 
than this job of his. I want him on the ball 
with all his might." General Arnold in 
August asked General Eisenhower for a 
broad outline for the employment of air- 
borne forces, noting that troop carrier 
planes were not "comparing at all favor- 
ably with combat plane missions (other 
than supply and training) accomplished 
and hours in the air." 1 

When it became clear that the First 
Allied Airborne Army would not be em- 
ployed west of the Seine, the Deputy Su- 
preme Commander and the SHAEF 
deputy G-3 proposed the strategic use of 
these forces in the area of Boulogne or 
Calais. 2 In addition, the SHAEF planners 
asked the airborne army to examine plans 
to employ airborne forces north of the 
Somme between the Oise and Abbeville, 
and north of the Aisne in the neighbor- 
hood of Soissons. Meanwhile, General 
Brereton completed plans for an operation 
to capture Boulogne. This was abandoned 
near the end of August when it became 



1 The Brereton Diaries, pp. 308-09, 322, 333. 

2 See above, p. 210. 



280 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



apparent that the ground forces would by- 
pass or capture the city before the opera- 
tion could be launched. 

At this juncture, General de Guingand 
outlined for General Brereton the types of 
airborne operations 21 Army Group de- 
sired in the coming weeks. He reminded 
the First Allied Airborne commander that 
General Eisenhower, although willing to 
leave the specific operations up to Gen- 
erals Montgomery and Brereton, was in- 
sistent that the airborne forces be used. 
The 21 Army Group chief of staff thought 
the airborne forces should speed the ad- 
vance northeast across the Somme, 
prevent enemy elements in the coastal 
area from reinforcing the main line, and 
provide a reserve to clear the area when 
contact was made with troops advancing 
from the south. He suggested an operation 
in the Doullens area north of Amiens. 
General Brereton explained that, while his 
forces were at the disposal of General 
Montgomery, it was necessary first to de- 
cide on the advisability of particular oper- 
ations. He ultimately refused the Doullens 
drop because he thought that a link-up of 
ground forces would occur within forty- 
eight hours. In view of the rapidity of the 
ground forces' advance, General Brereton 
proposed that all planning be discarded 
except that which aimed at action in the 
Aachen-Maastricht area. He pointed out 
that the armies were moving so swiftly 
that the airborne army could not keep up 
with them unless its transport was released 
from air supply operations. 3 

General Brereton not only opposed 
using airborne forces for operations which 
he believed the ground forces could per- 
form, but he was showing concern over the 
Supreme Command's tendency to permit 
the Troop Carrier Command to be used 
for supply instead of its primary role of 



carrying soldiers. Almost solid opposition 
from ground commanders confronted 
General Brereton's recommendation that 
aircraft intended primarily for tactical air- 
borne missions be released from the task of 
carrying supplies. "Inability to take ad- 
vantage of the chance of delivering a 
paralyzing blow by airborne action," he 
insisted, "was due to lack of Troop Carrier 
aircraft which could have been made 
available immediately for airborne opera- 
tions had they not been used for resupply 
and evacuation." He held that airborne 
planning should be conducted at the Su- 
preme Commander's level. Along with 
General Arnold, he believed that the con- 
ception of the employment of the First 
Allied Airborne Army as a strategic force 
was not properly understood. 4 

After the operation to seize Boulogne 
was canceled, an air drop at Tournai 
(Linnet I) was planned. This was set aside, 
in turn, on the evening of 2 September by 
21 Army Group as a result of adverse 
weather and delay. General Eisenhower 
and Air Chief Marshal Tedder on 3 Sep- 
tember gave their backing to an operation 
planned for the Aachen- Maastricht Gap 
(Linnet II). The final decision on this 
project was left to Field Marshal Mont- 
gomery and General Bradley. General 
Brereton believed that the disorganization 
of the enemy required immediate launch- 
ing of the operation. He declared that the 
operation should be mounted on 4 Sep- 
tember or not at all. General Browning, 
deputy commander of the First Allied 
Airborne Army, protested that insuffi- 
cient time had been given. When General 

3 Highlights of mtg at Hq 2 1 A Gp, 25 Aug 44, 
SHAEF FAAA, Plans for Operations. The Brereton 
Diaries, p. 336, gives General Brereton's reactions. 

4 The Brereton Diaries, p. 339; Arnold, Global Mis- 
sion, p. 521; for a ground force view, see 1 2th A Gp 
G-4 AAR, Aug 44. 



FIGHTING IN THE NORTH 



281 



Brereton held to his resolution, General 
Browning tendered his resignation. The 
airborne army commander declared next 
day that only General Eisenhower could 
act upon the matter, and General Brown- 
ing withdrew his letter. The entire prob- 
lem was settled apparently as the result of 
the slowing of the ground battle; on 5 Sep- 
tember Linnet II was canceled. 5 

Airborne planners devised eighteen dif- 
ferent plans in forty days only to have 
many of the objectives overrun by the 
ground troops before any action could be 
taken. The schedule of operations had 
been disrupted temporarily in the last half 
of August when for an interval of nearly 
two weeks troop carrier aircraft were di- 
verted to the supply of ground troops. 
Only after a strong reminder by General 
Brereton that these planes were needed for 
training in preparation for new operations 
were they withdrawn from supply activi- 
ties. Even then, the air drops for which the 
troop carrier units had been withdrawn 
were canceled. 

Meanwhile the airborne headquarters 
and the 21 Army Group were exploring 
other ways in which the airborne army 
might be used. By 5 September, Field 
Marshal Montgomery had decided in 
favor of an air drop of one and one-half 
divisions on 1 September to seize river 
crossings in the Arnhem-Nijmegen area 
(Operation Comet). 6 This operation was 
postponed from day to day and finally 
canceled on 10 September as a result of 
bad weather and stiffened enemy resist- 
ance. A decision was finally made to 
strengthen the attack and not to abandon 
it. First Allied Airborne Army was in- 
formed on the 10th that General Eisen- 
hower and Field Marshal Montgomery 
wanted an operation in the general area 
specified in Comet. A decision was made 



to enlarge the air drop to three and one- 
half divisions, to seize bridges over the 
Maas, Waal, and Neder Rijn at Grave, 
Nijmegen, and Arnhem (Operation 
Market), and to open a corridor from 
Eindhoven northward for the passage of 
British ground forces into Germany 
(Operation Garden). 

Although some individuals at 12th 
Army Group and First Allied Airborne 
Army, and even some members of the 21 
Army Group staff, expressed opposition to 
the plan, it seemed to fit the pattern of cur- 
rent Allied strategy. It conformed to Gen- 
eral Arnold's recommendation for an 
operation some distance east of the 
enemy's forward positions and beyond the 
area where enemy reserves were normally 
located; it afforded an opportunity for 
using the long-idle airborne resources; it 
was in accord with Field Marshal Mont- 
gomery's desire for a thrust north of the 
Rhine while the enemy was disorganized; 
it would help reorient the Allied drive in 
the direction 21 Army Group thought it 
should go; and it appeared to General 
Eisenhower to be the boldest and best 
move the Allies could make at the mo- 
ment. The Supreme Commander realized 
that the momentum of the drive into Ger- 
many was being lost and thought that by 
this action it might be possible to get 
a bridgehead across the Rhine before the 
Allies were stopped. The airborne divi- 
sions, he knew, were in good condition and 
could be supported without throwing a 
crushing burden on the already over- 
strained supply lines. At worst, General 

5 The Brereton Diaries, pp. 337-38, entries for 3,4, 
and 5 September 1944. 

« CofS 2 1 A Gp Conf, 5 Sep 44, 2 1 A Gp files; 
SHAEF G-3 Memo, 21 Oct 44, sub: Projected Abn 
Opns, SHAEF G^3 Future Opns 245 33 /Ops; SHAEF 
FAAA, Plan for Operation Comet. A list of opera- 
tions is given in The Brereton Diaries, pp. 339-40. 



282 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Eisenhower thought the operation would 
strengthen the 2 1 Army Group in its later 
fight to clear the Schelde estuary. Field 
Marshal Montgomery examined the ob- 
jections that the proposed route of ad- 
vance "involved the additional obstacle of 
the Lower Rhine (Neder Rijn) as com- 
pared with more easterly approaches, and 
would carry us to an area relatively remote 
from the Ruhr," He considered that these 
were overriden by certain major advan- 
tages: (1) the operation would outflank 
the Siegfried Line defenses; (2) it would be 
on the line which the enemy would con- 
sider the least likely for the Allies to use; 
and (3) the area was the one with the 
easiest range for the Allied airborne forces. 7 
Operation Market was placed under 
General Browning's British Airborne 
Corps. Specifically, it provided for the 
101st U.S. Airborne Division to seize key 
points on the highway between Eindhoven 
and Grave, the 82d U.S. Airborne Divi- 
sion to take bridges at Nijmegen and 
Grave, and the 1st British Airborne Divi- 
sion to capture the bridges at Arnhem. 
The 1st Polish Parachute Brigade was to 
reinforce this last effort. The 5 2d British 
(Lowland) Division was to be flown in 
later to strengthen the Arnhem bridge- 
head. While these attacks were under way, 
the Second British Army was to launch 
Operation Garden. The 30 British Corps 
was to spearhead a drive with the British 
Guards Armored Division and follow up 
its efforts with the 43d and 50th Divisions. 
The corps was to advance from the line of 
the Meuse-Escaut Canal along a narrow 
corridor from Eindhoven northward and 
push across the bridges which had been 
secured by airborne forces to Arnhem 
some sixty-four miles away. Thrusting 
thence to the IJsselmeer, nearly one hun- 
dred miles from the original jump-off 



point, it was to cut off the escape route of 
the enemy in western Holland and then 
turn northeast into Germany. Meanwhile, 
the 12 and 8 British Corps on the flanks of 
the 30 British Corps were to advance in 
support of the attack. 8 

The boldness of the operation was ap- 
parent. Its success required a rapid ad- 
vance by ground forces along a narrow 
corridor more than sixty miles from the 
advanced British positions at the Meuse- 
Escaut Canal, and several days of favor- 
able flying conditions at a season when the 
weather in northwest Europe was nor- 
mally bad. 

Set over against the factors making for 
caution was the belief, still generally held 
at most Allied headquarters, that the 
enemy forces which had fled through 
northern France and Belgium would be 
unable to stop and conduct any sort of 
effective defense against the Allied armies. 
Limiting factors on continued Allied ad- 
vances were believed to be based more on 
Allied shortages of supply than on the 
enemy's capacity to resist. Fairly typical of 
the Allied point of view was SHAEF's esti- 
mate of the situation a week before the 
Arnhem operation. Enemy strength 

'21 A Gp, Operation Market-Garden, 7-26 
Sep 44, SHAEF FAAA; Bradley, A Soldier's Story, pp. 
416-18. General Bradley says he obj ected strenu- 
ously to the plan but "I nevertheless freely concede 
that Monty's plan for Arnhem was one of the most 
imaginative of the war." Brereton, in a letter to Gen- 
eral Ward, 1 June 1951, OC MH, says that he op- 
posed the operation as planned (The Brereton Diaries, 
pp. 340, 342); Ltr, Brig Williams to author, 12 Aug 
51; Arnold, Global Mission, p. 521; Eisenhower, Cru- 
sade in Europe, p. 307; Notes by Gen Eisenhower, 
16 Jun 51, OCMH files; Montgomery, Normandy to 
the Baltic, p, 224. For an air force view of the opera- 
tion see Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces in World 
War II, III. 598-611. 

8 Hq Br Abn Corps, Allied Airborne Operations in 
Holland (Sep- Oct 44), SHAEF EAAA; outline plan 
for Operation Comet in same file; outline of Oper- 
ation Market-Garden in SHAEF G-3 file. 



FIGHTING IN THE NORTH 



283 



throughout the west was listed at forty- 
eight divisions or approximately twenty 
infantry and four armored divisions at full 
strength. 8 This included four divisions 
which had to remain in the fortresses and 
three others outside the arcs of the Sieg- 
fried Line. SHAEF thus assumed that the 
immediate defense of the West Wall would 
be left to the 200,000 men who had es- 
caped from France and an additional 
100,000 who might yet escape from Bel- 
gium and southern France or be brought 
from Germany. This defending force, the 
SHAEF G-2 concluded, would not be 
greater than eleven infantry and four 
armored divisions at full strength. As to re- 
inforcements, an estimate which was be- 
lieved to be unduly fair to the enemy 
added a "speculative dozen" divisions 
which might "struggle up" in the course of 
the month. It was considered "most un- 
likely that more than the true equivalent 
of four panzer grenadier divisions with 600 
tanks" would be found. The G-2 declared: 
"The Westwall cannot be held with this 
amount, even when supplemented by 
many oddments and large amounts of 
flak." 10 In the light of this and other simi- 
lar assessments of the enemy situation, it 
would have been difficult for General 
Eisenhower or Field Marshal Mont- 
gomery, even in the face of logistical diffi- 
culties, to justify stopping the great pursuit 
without some effort to pierce or outflank 
the West Wall defenses. 

The optimism reflected in SHAEF's 
intelligence estimate was also evidenced 
four days before the attack in the state- 
ment by Headquarters, Airborne Corps, 
that the enemy had few infantry reserves 
and a total armored strength of not more 
than fifty to one hundred tanks. While 
there were numerous signs that the enemy 
was strengthening the defenses of the river 



and canal lines through Arnhem and 
Nijmegen, it was believed that the troops 
manning them were not numerous and 
were of "low category." The 1st British 
Airborne Division's report later described 
Allied estimates as follows; "It was 
thought that the enemy must still be dis- 
organized after his long and hasty retreat 
from south of the River Seine and that 
though there might be numerous small 
bodies of enemy in the area, he would not 
be capable of organized resistance to any 
great extent." Only on the very eve of the 
attack was a warning note sounded. The 
SHAEF G-2 at that time declared that the 
"9 SS Panzer Division, and with it presum- 
ably the 10, has been reported as with- 
drawing to the Arnhem area of Holland; 
there they will probably both collect new 
tanks from a depot reported in the area of 
Cleves." 11 

Supply difficulties intensified the prob- 
lems of Market-Garden at the outset of 
planning. On 1 1 September, Field Mar- 
shal Montgomery notified General Eisen- 
hower that the latter's failure to give 
priority to the northern thrust over other 
operations meant that the attack could not 
be made before 26 September. The Su- 
preme Commander then sent his chief of 
staff to assure the 2 1 Army Group com- 
mander that 1,000 tons of supplies per day 
would be delivered by Allied planes and 
U.S. truck companies. Field Marshal 
Montgomery now reconsidered and set 1 7 
September as the target day for the opera- 
tion. To the Supreme Commander he 
wired: "Most grateful to you personally 

* See above, p. 248, for actual strength. 

10 SHAEF Weekly Intel Summary 25, week end- 
ing 9 Sep 44, SHAEF G-2 file. 

11 Hq Abn Troops Operational Instruction 1, 13 
Sep 44; 1st Abn Div AAR on Opn Market, Pts. 1-3. 
Both in SHAEF FAAA. SHAEF Weekly Intel Sum- 
mary 26, week ending 16 Sep 44, SHAEF G-2 file. 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



and to Beetle for all you are doing for 

us." 12 

Despite the narrow margin of logis- 
tical support for Market-Garden, Field 
Marshal Montgomery now believed that, 
if weather conditions permitted full de- 
velopment of Allied air power and un- 
hindered use of airborne forces, he had 
sufficient supplies to secure the Rhine 
bridgehead. Later, in reporting on the 
operation, he declared that.it was neces- 
sary to shorten the time for building up 
supplies in order to prevent the enemy 
from reorganizing. He added: "After care- 
ful consideration it was decided to take 
this administrative risk, subsequently fully 
justified, and the actual date of the start 
of the operation was advanced by six 
days." To reduce the risk, the Field Mar- 
shal suggested on 14 September that U.S. 
forces create a diversion along the Metz- 
Nancy front during the period 14-26 Sep- 
tember in order to pull the enemy away 
from Arnhem. Two days later he indicated 
that, inasmuch as the Third Army opera- 
tions in Lorraine were producing a suffi- 
cient threat, no special feint was neces- 
sary. 13 

In order to get transport for the addi- 
tional 500 tons which had to be hauled 
daily from Bayeux to Brussels during the 
Market-Garden operation, SHAEF or- 
dered the newly arrived 26th, 95th, and 
104th U.S. Infantry Divisions stripped of 
their vehicles, save those needed for self- 
maintenance. Using the freed vehicles, 
provisional units were substituted for more 
experienced U.S. truck companies on the 
Red Ball route, and the companies thus 
made available were then transferred to 
the British Red Lion route. By 8 October, 
at which time British supplies began to go 
by rail, these companies had hauled more 
than 18,000 tons of supplies. A daily 



average of 627 tons, about half of it British 
POL and the remainder U.S. supplies, was 
transported over the 306-mile forward 
route. 1 * 

The MARKET-GARDEN Operation 

Operation Market-Garden started ac- 
cording to plan in the early afternoon of 17 
September as elements of the 1st British 
and 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions 
began dropping near Arnhem, Grave, and 



Veghel. (Map 3)\ At approximately the 
same time, the oO British Corps moved 
from a point north of the Meuse-Escaut 
Canal toward Eindhoven. In the largest 
airborne attack undertaken up to that 
time, the Allied forces landed with light 
losses. Soon afterward they ran into seri- 
ous trouble. The general area of the south- 
eastern Netherlands was held by the First 
Parachute Army (Generaloberst Kurt Stu- 
dent) which was in the process of con- 
solidation when the airborne force struck. 
Though surprised by the airborne force 
and not prepared for an attack, General 
Student was able to draw on the // SS 
Panzer Corps, then regrouping northeast of 
Arnhem, and to bring up to Nijmegen the 
// Parachute Corps with several parachute 



vi Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-205, 1 6 Sep 44, 
SHAEF SGS 381 Post Overlord Planning, I; Mont- 
gomery to Eisenhower, M-197, 12 Sep 44, Eisen- 
hower personal file. General Eisenhower had made 
clear that during the airborne operation the 500 tons 
delivered by airlift would have to be made up by 
emergency measures, since all available aircraft 
would be used in Market-Garden. Eisenhower to 
Montgomery, FWD 14758, 1 3 Sep 44, SHAEF SGS 
381 Post Overlord Planning, I. 

13 SHAEF to 12th A Gp, FWD 14837, 14 Sep 44, 
SHAEF SGS 381 Post Overlord Planning, I; 
SHAEF to EXFOR (2 1 A Gp), FWD 15007, 16 Sep 
44; Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic, p. 220; 21 A 
Gp Rpt. Market-Garden, 1 7-26 Sep 44, SHAEF 
file. 

14 History of G-4, ComZ, ETO, prep by Hist Sec, 
G-4, COMZ, MS, Sec. Ill, Ch. 3, OGMH files. 




dohnsiorie 

MAP 3 



286 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Kampfgruppen which were reorganizing 
near Cologne. Student was aided by a 
captured copy of the Allied attack order 
which reached him within two hours after 
the landing. An infantry division, en route 
to the area from the Fifteenth Army area at 
the time of the attack, was detrained and 
put into the attack against the 101st Air- 
borne Division near Son. The enemy was 
also helped by the fact that Field Marshal 
Model, who had his Army Group B head- 
quarters near Arnhem, was able to co- 
ordinate the fighting at Arnhem and 
Nijmegen. The defense was quickly or- 
ganized and new forces brought up. The 
enemy sent all available combat aircraft 
to help his antiaircraft stop the Allied 
attack. 15 

Despite prompt and unexpectedly 
strong enemy reaction, the Allies made 
some gains during the first day. By mid- 
night, the 101st and the 82d Airborne Di- 
visions were well established near Eind- 
hoven and Nijmegen. The 1st British Air- 
borne Division, dropping some six to eight 
miles west of Arnhem, lost the effect of the 
initial surprise by landing too far from the 
objective. Elements of the division took the 
north end of the Arnhem highway bridge, 
which was still intact. Many miles to the 
south, British armored units, starting their 
advance in the early afternoon from the 
Meuse-Escaut Canal bridgehead, ran into 
heavy opposition from parachute and SS 
panzer troops. Even though progress was 
"disappointingly slow," the general feeling 
was one of optimism. 16 

For the next five days, increasingly bad 
weather and the arrival of German rein- 
forcements upset Allied plans. The drop- 
ping of additional Allied units was delayed 
four hours on 18 September and resupply 
efforts were so disrupted that they were 
only 30 percent effective. Worse weather 



on the 19th held up reinforcements for the 
82d U.S. and 1st British Airborne Divi- 
sions. The 1st Polish Parachute Brigade, 
which was expected to arrive in the 
Arnhem area on the 18th, did not land 
until the 21st. Even then its drop zones 
had to be altered to points south of the 
Neder Rijn and only half of the force was 
put down near Arnhem. In the south, the 
101st Airborne Division took Eindhoven 
on the 18th and the 82d Airborne, aided 
by the Guards Armored Division, seized 
railroad and highway bridges at Nijmegen 
on 20 September. The enemy, despite 
these setbacks, rushed sufficient units to 
the Nijmegen area to delay armored 
elements from reaching Arnhem. 

The plight of the 1st British Airborne 
Division, desperate after the first day, was 
not "known to any satisfactory extent" at 
Headquarters, British Airborne Corps, 
until the 20th. Not only was it impossible 
to push through ground force aid as 
planned, but the rest of the division out- 
side Arnhem was unable to join up with 
the small group holding the north end of 
the bridge. Efforts to reinforce the group 
were thwarted by bad weather. Resupply 
difficulties arose when the division was 
unable to capture its supply dropping 
zone. It could neither notify the air trans- 
port forces nor arrange for another supply 
site. As a result, the bulk of ammunition 
and supplies flown in fell into enemy 
hands. The group at the Arnhem highway 
bridge, unable to get ammunition, was 
forced to surrender on the 21st. 

The other British airborne units near 
Arnhem, now shadows of their former 

15 MS # B-717, Supplement to Report by Oberst 
i. G. Geyer (Student); Der Westen (Schramm). First 
Parachute Army was assigned to Army Group B on 6 
September 1944. 

16 Hq Br Abn Corps, Allied Airborne Operations in 
Holland (Sep-Oct 44), SHAEF FAAA. 



FIGHTING IN THE NORTH 



287 



strength, were cut off from the river and 
unable to get support from the air. Never- 
theless they continued to fight in the hope 
that armor from the south could get 
through. The Guards Armored Division, 
advancing northward from Nijmegen on 
the 21st, was quickly stopped. The 43d 
Division was now brought up and its ad- 
vanced brigade crossed the Nijmegen 
bridge on the morning of 22 September. 
On that day, the Guards Armored was 
forced to send back a mixed brigade to 
deal with an enemy attack on the supply 
corridor near Veghel well to the south of 
Nijmegen. On the same day, the 43d Di- 
vision and the Polish Parachute Brigade 
linked up at Driel but became heavily en- 
gaged in a fight to keep the corridor open 
from Nijmegen to Driel. Only a small 
force of Poles succeeded in crossing the 
Neder Rijn on the evening of 22 Septem- 
ber. By the evening of the 23d, the situa- 
tion of the airborne forces near Arnhem 
was so critical that the commander of the 
Second British Army gave his approval 
for a withdrawal should it prove necessary. 

On the morning of 25 September, the 
position of the 1st British Airborne Divi- 
sion had obviously become untenable. 
Acting under the authority previously 
granted, the division prepared to with- 
draw that night. Beginning at 2200, the 
British brought more than 2,000 of the 
division and recent reinforcements south 
of the Neder Rijn. Some 6,400 of those 
who had gone in north of the river were 
dead or missing. 17 

The Allies had failed in their effort to 
establish a bridgehead across the lower 
Rhine. They still retained, however, the 
important bridgeheads over the Maas and 
the Waal at Grave and Nijmegen. The 
British line had been extended nearly fifty 
miles northeast of the position of 1 7 Sep- 



tember. The enemy showed his concern 
over these gains by the fury with which he 
attempted to eliminate the corridor and 
new bridgeheads held by U.S. and British 
forces. Field Marshal Montgomery found 
it necessary to retain the 82d and 101st 
U.S. Airborne Divisions in the line. 18 Gen- 
eral Brereton opposed this action, warn- 
ing that these divisions would be rendered 
unavailable for the future operations then 
being proposed by the 12th and 21 Army 
Groups. In the remaining weeks between 
26 September and 5 November the two 
units suffered losses slightly greater than 
those sustained by them during the 
Market operation. 19 

Both Field Marshal Montgomery and 
General Brereton hailed the airborne 
phase of the operation as a success. They 
were correct insofar as the initial units 
landed in accordance with plan and held 
their bridgeheads at Nijmegen and Eind- 
hoven. The failure to hold Arnhem, how- 
ever, ended the possibility of a quick drive 
onto the north German plain, and the se- 
verity of the enemy reaction deprived the 
armies of any immediate airborne support 
for further drops along the Rhine. Nu- 
merous reasons were adduced for the fail- 
ure of the operation to attain complete 
success. The 21 Army Group, in summa- 
rizing the reasons, concluded that under 
north European climatic conditions "an 

17 Hq Br Abn Corps, Allied Airborne Operations 
in Holland, p. 5. 

18 The Polish Parachute Brigade left the area on 
7 October. 

19 The Brereton Diaries, pp. 361, 367-68. The 82d 
Airborne Division's casualties of 1,432 in the Septem- 
ber operation were increased by 1,912, and the 101st 
Airborne Division's 2,1 10 were increased by 1,682 in 
the weeks following the initial action. Nearly 12,000 
casualties were sustained by the British and U.S. 
airborne divisions, the troop carrier, crews and pilots, 
and the air support groups between 17 and 25 Sep- 
tember. Hq Br Abn Corps, Allied Airborne Opera- 
tions in Holland. 



288 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



airborne plan which relies upon linking 
the airborne forces dropped on D Day and 
dropping additional forces at D plus 1 is 
risky, since the weather may frustrate the 
plan." Field Marshal Montgomery was 
inclined to believe that good weather 
would have made possible a completely 
successful operation. The First Allied Air- 
borne Army declared: "The airborne 
Mission . . . was accomplished. The air- 
borne troops seized the fifty mile corridor 
desired by CinC, Northern Group of 
Armies, and held it longer than planned. 
The fact that the weight of exploiting 
troops was insufficient to carry them past 
Arnhem in time to take advantage of the 
effort does not detract from their success." 
A German analysis, captured by the Allies 
after the operation, concluded that the Al- 
lies' "chief mistake was not to have landed 
the entire First British Airborne Division 
at once rather than over a period of 3 days 
and that a second airborne division was 
not dropped in the area west of Arnhem." 
General Browning pointed to the fact that 
the almost total failure of communications 
prevented his headquarters from knowing 
the seriousness of the 1st British Airborne 
Division's situation until forty-eight hours 
too late. If he had known it sooner, he be- 
lieved, it would have been possible to 
move the division to the area of Renkum, 
where a good bridgehead could have been 
held over the Neder Rijn, and the 30 Brit- 
ish Corps would have had a chance to 
cross against little opposition. Undoubt- 
edly, much of the trouble came because 
the 30 British Corps had to move some 
sixty-four miles to Arnhem over one main 
road which was vulnerable to enemy at- 
tack. Instead of the expected two to four 
days, nearly a week was required for the 
advance to Arnhem. It is possible that the 
operation would not have been under- 



taken but for the Allied belief that the 
enemy between Eindhoven and Arnhem 
was weak and demoralized. One may 
readily believe that the Germans were 
right in concluding that the strength of the 
II SS Panzer Corps in the area was "a nasty 
surprise for the Allies." 20 

So far as the debate between propo- 
nents of the single thrust to the north or 
south of the Ardennes was concerned, the 
result at Arnhem settled nothing. To some 
partisans, the operation proved that Field 
Marshal Montgomery had been wrong in 
insisting on his drive in the north. Other 
observers thought that Market-Garden 
might have succeeded had the Supreme 
Commander halted all advances south of 
the Ardennes. To SHAEF, the outcome of 
the gamble to outflank the West Wall 
meant that all efforts would now have to 
be turned toward capturing the ap- 
proaches to Antwerp and building up a 
backlog of supplies sufficient to resume an 
all-out offensive against Germany. For the 
Germans, their success in stopping the 
Arnhem thrust short of its objective meant 
additional time in which to reorganize 
their forces and prepare for the attack they 
knew would come. For the soldier, the dis- 
mal prospect of spending a cold winter in 
France, Belgium, or Germany was in- 
creased. 

Discussion of Future Operations 

While the Arnhem operation was still in 
the preparatory state, General Eisenhower 
and his subordinates had been examining 

20 Montgomery, Normandy to the Baltic, p. 243; Hq 
Br Abn Corps, Allied Airborne Operations in Hol- 
land; 21 A Gp Rpt, Market-Garden, 17-26 Sep 
44, SHAEF files; Covering ltr, First Allied Airborne 
Army Operation in Holland (Sep-Nov 44), FAAA, 18 
Dec 44, sub: German Analysis of Arnhem, SHAEF 
FAAA. 



FIGHTING IN THE NORTH 



289 



plans for future operations in Germany. A 
number of questions arose in the course of 
discussions between the Supreme Com- 
mander and the 21 Army Group com- 
mander which persisted until the spring of 
1945. Several points of honest disagree- 
ment were found which involved not only 
divergent views as to proper strategy but 
also national interests of Great Britain and 
the United States. A study of these debates 
is essential to an understanding of the 
problems of coalition command. 

Not only did General Eisenhower have 
to consider the strategy which he thought 
best, but he had to give due weight to the 
strategic and tactical views held by the 
chief military commanders of other na- 
tionalities under his command. As Su- 
preme Commander and as the principal 
U.S. commander in the European theater, 
he sometimes gave orders to his U.S. army 
group and army commanders which they 
considered inimical to their interests. At 
the same time he appeared to be giving 
greater freedom of action and discussion of 
strategy to the British army group com- 
mander. This impression developed to 
some extent from the fact that while Field 
Marshal Montgomery was the leader of a 
British army group, and as such occupied 
the same level of authority as Generals 
Bradley and Devers, he was also the chief 
British commander in the field, in close 
contact with the British Chief of the Im- 
perial General Staff and in a position to 
know and defend the British strategic 
point of view. Suggestions that he pre- 
sented to the Supreme Commander might 
represent either ideas that the British 
Chiefs of Staff were expressing to the U.S. 
Chiefs of Staff or views of his own that 
would be backed by the British Chiefs in 
later meetings. In these cases it was not 
always possible for the Supreme Com- 



mander to decide the matter simply by 
saying, "Here is an order: execute it." 

Generals Bradley and Devers, on the 
other hand, while sometimes in control of 
larger forces and technically at the same 
level of command as the field marshal, did 
not have exactly the same position. The 
Supreme Commander was the chief U.S. 
military representative in Europe. It was 
he who was in contact with the U.S. Chiefs 
of Staff and it was his views on strategy 
which were expressed in Washington. His 
orders to the U.S. army groups had the 
full weight of both the Combined Chiefs 
and the U.S. Chiefs of Staff behind them. 

In both the U.S. and British armies it 
was understood that proposed plans might 
be debated and various viewpoints de- 
veloped. General Eisenhower encouraged 
this type of discussion and often invited 
criticism of his plans. It is possible, how- 
ever, that he added to his own command 
problems by failing to make clear to Field 
Marshal Montgomery when the "discus- 
sion" stage had ended and the "execu- 
tion" stage had begun. Associates of the 
British commander have emphasized that 
he never failed to obey a direct order, but 
that he would continue to press his view- 
points as long as he was permitted to do so. 
Perhaps the Supreme Commander, accus- 
tomed to more ready compliance from his 
U.S. army group commanders, delayed 
too long in issuing positive directions to 
Montgomery. Perhaps, anxious to give a 
full voice to the British allies, he was more 
tolerant of strong dissent from the field 
marshal than he should have been. What- 
ever the reason, some of his SHAEF ad- 
visers thought him overslow in issuing final 
orders stopping further discussion on Ant- 
werp and closing debate on the question of 
command. It is difficult to sustain the 
charge that Montgomery willfully dis- 



290 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



obeyed orders. It is plausible to say that he 
felt he was representing firmly the best in- 
terests of his country and attempting to set 
forth what he and his superiors in the 
United Kingdom considered to be the best 
strategy for the Allies to pursue in Europe. 
When his statements on these matters 
were accompanied by what appeared to 
be a touch of patronage or cocky self-as- 
surance, some members of the SHAEF 
staff viewed them as approaching insub- 
ordination. There is no evidence that Gen- 
eral Eisenhower shared these views. 

Because of the various elements involved 
in the discussions on policy in 1944 and 
1945, any true account of the period is 
certain to give the impression of continual 
bickering between SHAEF and 21 Army 
Group. Indeed, a few people have con- 
cluded as a result that coalition command 
is virtually an impossibility. In this, as in 
many other cases, the vast number of co- 
operative efforts which raised only a few 
questions and arguments are too often 
overlooked or forgotten, by both the his- 
torian and the reader who turn rapidly 
through pages of dull agreement and seek 
out the more interesting paragraphs of 
controversy. If these last deserve consider- 
able attention, it is for the good reason 
that the strength of coalitions is tested by 
controversies and trials. 

On 15 September, General Eisenhower 
looked beyond the Arnhem attack and 
the Antwerp operation, which he expected 
to follow, to action that the Allies should 
take after they seized the Ruhr, Saar, and 
Frankfurt areas. He named Berlin as the 
ultimate Allied goal and said he desired 
to move on it "by the most direct and ex- 
peditious route, with combined U.S.-Brit- 
ish forces supported by other available 
forces moving through key centres and oc- 
cupying strategic areas on the flanks, all in 



one co-ordinated, concerted operation." 
This was the nub of what was to be known 
as his "broad front" strategy. Having 
stated it, he virtually invited a debate by 
asking his army group commanders to 
give their reactions. 21 

Only the day before, Field Marshal 
Montgomery had given an indication of 
his views when he proposed that, once the 
Second British Army had an IJssel River 
line running from Arnhem northward to 
Zwolle near the IJssel meer and had estab- 
lished deep bridgeheads across the river, 
the Allies should push eastward toward 
Osnabrueck and Hamm. The weight 
would be directed to the right toward 
Hamm, from which a strong thrust would 
be made southward along the eastern face 
of the Ruhr. Meanwhile, the Canadian 
Army was to capture Boulogne and Calais 
and turn its full attention to the opening 
of the approaches to Antwerp. 22 

In answer to General Eisenhower's in- 
vitation, the field marshal now repeated 
what one might call the "narrow front" 
view. Since it introduced new arguments 
relative to the logistical possibilities open 
to the Allied forces, it is worthy of quota- 
tion at some length. The 2 1 Army Group 
commander declared: 

1. I suggest that the whole matter as to 
what is possible, and what is NOT possible, 
is very closely linked up with the adminis- 
trative situation. The vital factor is time; 
what we have to do, we must do quickly. 

2. In view of para. 1 , it is my opinion that 
a concerted operation in which all the avail- 
able land armies move forward into Ger- 
many is not possible; the maintenance re- 
sources, and the general administrative 



21 Eisenhower to army group comdrs, 15 Sep 44, 
SHAEF SGS 381 Post Overlord Planning, I. 

22 21 A Gp General Operational Situation and Dir, 
M-525, 14 Sep 44, SHAEF SGS 381 Post Overlord 
Planning, I. 



FIGHTING IN THE NORTH 



291 



situation, will not allow of this being done 
quickly. 

3. But forces adequate in strength for the 
job in hand could be supplied and main- 
tained, provided the general axis of advance 
was suitable and provided these forces had 
complete priority in all respects as regards 
maintenance. 

4. It is my own personal opinion that we 
shall not achieve what wc want by going for 
objectives such as Nurnberg, Augsburg, 
Munich, etc., and by establishing our forces 
in central Germany. 

5. I consider that the best objective is the 
Ruhr, and thence on to Berlin by the north- 
ern route. On that route are the ports, and on 
that route we can use our sea power to the 
best advantages. On other routes we would 
merely contain as many German forces as we 
could. 23 

Having stated his argument, Field Mar- 
shal Montgomery noted the alternatives. 
If General Eisenhower agreed that the 
northern route should be used, then the 
British commander believed that the 21 
Army Group plus the First U.S. Army of 
nine divisions would be sufficient. Such a 
force, he added, "must have everything it 
needed in the maintenance line; other Armies 
would do the best they could with what 
was left over." If, he continued, the proper 
axis was by Frankfurt and central Ger- 
many "then I suggest that 12 Army Group 
of three Armies would be used and would 
have all the maintenance. 21 Army Group 
would do the best it could with what was 
left over; or possibly the Second British 
Army would be wanted in a secondary 
role on the left flank of the movement." 

To his earlier arguments for a northern 
thrust, the field marshal had actually 
added a plea for an all-out thrust on 
either his or Bradley's front. This point 
was obscured by two observations. In one, 
he declared: "In brief, I consider that as 
TIME is so very important, we have got 
to decide what is necessary to go to Berlin 



and finish the war; the remainder must 
play a secondary role. It is my opinion that 
three Armies are enough, if you select the 
northern route, and I consider, from a 
maintenance point of view, it could be 
done." In the second, his concluding state- 
ment, he indicated that the discussion was 
in accordance with general views ex- 
pressed by telegram on 4 September, and 
he attached a copy of that telegram. 

The views of both 4 and 18 September 
were at variance with General Bradley's 
estimate of the situation. While noting 
that terrain studies showed "that the route 
north of the area is best," he returned to 
the pre-D-Day view, which had been fre- 
quently repeated, that drives should be 
made to both the north and south of the 
Ruhr. He thought that the main southern 
attack toward the Ruhr should be made 
from Frankfurt and that this would re- 
quire holding the Rhine from Cologne to 
Frankfurt. After both drives had passed 
the Ruhr, he proposed that one main 
spearhead be directed toward Berlin, 
while the other armies supported it with 
simultaneous thrusts. He added that while 
territorial gains were important there 
might be cases where the destruction cf 
hostile armies should have priority over 
purely territorial gains. 24 

The Supreme Commander now had set 
before him two different plans of action. 
Apparently seeing in Montgomery's pro- 
posal nothing more than a restatement of 
his 4 September argument for a push to 
the north, he declared against a "narrow 
front" policy. While specifically accepting 
the Ruhr-lo- Berlin route for an all-out of- 
fensive into Germany, he firmly rejected 



2i * Montgomery to Eisenhower, 1.8 Sep 44, entry in 
Diary Office GinC for 20 Sep 44. Italics in original. 

24 Memo, Bradley for Eisenhower, 21 Sep 44, Eisen- 
hower personal file. 



292 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



Field Marshal Montgomery's suggestion 
that all troops except those in the 2 1 Army 
Group and the First U.S. Army should 
"stop in place where they are and that we 
can strip all these additional divisions 
from their transport and everything else to 
support one single knife-like drive toward 
Berlin." The Supreme Commander 
added: "What I do believe is that we must 
marshal our strength up along the western 
borders of Germany, to the Rhine if possi- 
ble, insure adequate maintenance by get- 
ting Antwerp to working at full blast at 
the earliest possible moment and then car- 
ry out the drive you suggest." He denied 
that this meant that he was considering an 
advance into Germany with all armies 
moving abreast. Rather, the chief advance 
after the crossing of the Rhine would be 
made by Montgomery's forces and the 
First U.S. Army. But General Bradley's 
forces, less First Army, would move for- 
ward in a supporting position to prevent 
the concentration of German forces 
against the front and the flank. The Su- 
preme Commander noted in passing that 
preference had been given to Field Mar- 
shal Montgomery's armies throughout the 
campaign while the other forces had been 
fighting "with a halter around their necks 
in the way of supplies." "You may not 
know," he continued, "that for four days 
straight Patton has been receiving serious 
counter-attacks and during the last seven 
days, without attempting any real ad- 
vance himself, has captured about 9,000 
prisoners and knocked out 720 tanks." 25 

He could not believe, said General 
Eisenhower in his letter of 20 September, 
that there was any great difference in his 
and the field marshal's concepts of fight- 
ing the battle against Germany. This 
opinion arose in part from his assumption 
that Montgomery was merely repeating 



his early September views. 

The 21 Army Group commander now 
undertook to make quite clear the points 
on which the two disagreed. To the British 
commander, the Supreme Commander's 
acceptance of a main thrust in the north 
as the chief business of the Allies meant 
that men and supplies should be concen- 
trated on the single operation. Always in 
favor of making sure of his position before 
attacking, he regarded as bad tactics any 
subsidiary action that would weaken the 
main offensive. To him the granting of per- 
mission to General Bradley or General 
Patton to move forces to the south meant 
that the right wing was being permitted to 
angle away from the proper direction of 
attack and that a battle might be brought 
on from which it would be impossible to 
disengage the forces in the south. 

In some respects, Montgomery's argu- 
ments and fears were similar to those ex- 
pressed by the U.S. Chiefs of Staff in their 
arguments with the British Chiefs con- 
cerning the Mediterranean campaign. 
General Marshall, in particular, had 
feared that no matter how much the Brit- 
ish might favor Overlord the continual 
involvement of Allied forces in the Medi- 
terranean would require ever-new com- 
mitments which would distract the Anglo- 
American forces from their major opera- 
tion in northwest Europe. To Field Mar- 
shal Montgomery, the granting of a divi- 
sion or additional tons of fuel to General 
Patton meant not only that the Third 
Army commander was dealing in opera- 
tions which did not contribute directly to 
the main attack, but that with the best 
faith in the world he was likely to get into 
new battles which would require further 
diversion of men and supplies from the 

25 Ltr, Eisenhower to Montgomery, 20 Sep 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 



FIGHTING IN THE NORTH 



293 



main operation. It appears that 21 Army 
Group also believed that Patton would use 
any opportunity he had to bring on other 
engagements so that he would have to 
have additional support. 26 

There thus appears on occasion in the 
correspondence between General Eisen- 
hower and Field Marshal Montgomery an 
intimation by the latter that the Supreme 
Commander, while committed to the 
northern operation, was prone to permit 
operations harmful to the northern thrust. 
Thus the constant recurrence of the theme: 
you have said let us go on the nbrth but 
you have allowed certain departures from 
that operation. This was not only irritat- 
ing to General Eisenhower, who believed 
that there were sufficient resources to carry 
on the additional secondary actions in 
the south, but it was alarming to Generals 
Bradley and Patton, who thought that 
their troops and stockpiles of material 
were being raided to support a British op- 
eration while they were relegated to a sec- 
ondary role. Feelings were undoubtedly 
strong on both sides. But for the reasons 
previously mentioned the field marshal 
continued the discussion, while the U.S. 
commanders accepted the orders they 
were given and kept their complaints 
among themselves. At the same time, Gen- 
eral Patton, if his war memoirs are to be 
accepted unreservedly, believed that since 
the Supreme Commander was too closely 
committed to Field Marshal Montgom- 
ery's plan of operations the Third Army 
had to make the greatest possible use of 
any loopholes in the Supreme Com- 
mander's orders to push the battle on its 
front. 27 

Field Marshal Montgomery on 21 Sep- 
tember made clear his anxiety about the 
Supreme Commander's current policy. 
He declared: 



... I can not agree that our concepts are 
the same and I am sure you would wish me to 
be quite frank and open in the matter. I have 
always said stop the right and go on with the 
left but the right has been allowed to go on so 
far that it has outstripped its maintenance and 
we have lost flexibility. In your letter you still 
want to go on further with your right and you 
state in your Para. 6 that all of Bradley's 
Army Group will move forward sufficiently 
etc. I would say that the right flank of 12 
Army Group should be given a very direct 
order to halt and if this order is not obeyed 
we shall get into greater difficulties. The net 
result of the matter in my opinion is that if 
you want to get the Ruhr you will have to 
put every single thing into the left hook and 
stop everything else. It is my opinion that if 
this is not done you will not get the Ruhr. 
Your very great friend Monty. 28 

In thanking Montgomery for clarifying 
the situation, General Eisenhower said 
that he did not agree with the 4 Septem- 
ber view that the Allied forces had 
reached the stage where a single thrust 
could be made all the way to Berlin with 
all other troops virtually immobile. He did 
accept emphatically what the field mar- 
shal had to say on attaining the Ruhr and 
added: 

. . . No one is more anxious than I to 
get to the Ruhr quickly. It is for the cam- 



26 General Patton's testimony has it that he pro- 
posed to do just that. 

21 This process, General Pahon called the "rock 
soup method." He described it as follows: "In other 
words, in order to attack, we had first to pretend to 
reconnoiter, then reinforce the reconnaissance, and 
finally put on an attack — all depending on what gaso- 
line jand ammunition we could secure." Again, speak- 
ing of Field Marshal Montgomery's efforts to have 
all the U.S. troops halt while he attacked in the north, 
General Patton says: "In order to avoid such an 
eventuality, it was evident that the Third Army 
should get deeply involved at once, so I asked Bradley 
not to call me until after dark on the nineteenth." 
Patton, War as I Knew It, pp. 125, 133, 265. 

28 Ltr, Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-223, 21 Sep 
44, Eisenhower personal file. 



294 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



paign from there onward deep into the heart 
of Germany for which I insist all other troops 
must be in position to support the main drive. 
The main drive must logically go by the 
North. It is because I am anxious to organize 
that final drive quickly upon the capture of 
the Ruhr that I insist upon the importance 
of Antwerp. As I have told you I am pre- 
pared to give you everything for the capture 
of the approaches to Antwerp, including all 
the air forces and anything else you can sup- 
port. Warm regard, Ike. 29 

The matters of Antwerp, the Ruhr, and 
future advances into Germany were all 
discussed by General Eisenhower and 
most of his chief subordinates at Versailles 
on 22 September. Unfortunately, the field 
commander most directly concerned, 
Field Marshal Montgomery, felt that be- 
cause of operational demands he could 
not be present and sent his chief of staff to 
represent him. Had he been present, it is 
possible that later misunderstandings over 
priority for operations might have been 
avoided. The Supreme Commander, 
while interested in future drives into Ger- 
many, asked early in the conference for 
"general acceptance of the fact that the 
possession of an additional major deep- 
water port on our north flank was an in- 
dispensable prerequisite for the final drive 
into Germany." Further, he asked that a 
clear distinction be made between logisti- 
cal requirements for the present opera- 
tions which aimed at breaching the Sieg- 
fried Line and seizing the Ruhr and the 
requirements for a final drive on Berlin. 30 

In the course of the conference, Eisen- 
hower also declared, "The envelopment of 
the Ruhr from the north by 21st Army 
Group, supported by 1st Army, is the main 
effort of the present phase of operations." 
He noted that the field marshal was to 
open the port of Antwerp and develop op- 
erations culminating in a strong attack on 
the Ruhr from the north. General Bradley 



was to support these actions by taking 
over the 8 British Corps sector and by con- 
tinuing a thrust, as far as current resources 
permitted, toward Cologne and Bonn. He 
was to be prepared to seize any favorable 
opportunity to cross the Rhine and attack 
the Ruhr from the south when the supply 
situation permitted. The remainder of the 
12th Army Group (i. e., the Third Army) 
was to take no more aggressive action than 
that permitted by the supply situation 
after the full requirements of the main ef- 
fort had been met. The 6th Army Group 
was notified that it could continue its op- 
erations to capture Mulhouse and Stras- 
bourg inasmuch as these would not divert 
supplies from other operations and would 
contain enemy forces that otherwise might 
be sent to the north. Pleased with the de- 
cision, General de Guingand wired the 21 
Army Group commander that his plan 
had been given "100 per cent support." 
Although Field Marshal Montgomery had 
not been given command of the First U.S. 
Army as requested, he was permitted, as 
a means of saving time in case of emer- 
gencies, to communicate directly with 
General Hodges. 31 

General Eisenhower hoped that the 
conference of 22 September had cleared 
the air and that complete understanding 
had been reached which should hold at 
least until the completion of the effort to 
take the Ruhr. In outlining the decision to 
Field Marshal Montgomery, the Supreme 
Commander emphasized the way in 



29 Eisenhower to Montgomery, FWD 15407, 22 
Sep 44, Eisenhower personal file. 

30 Montgomery to Smith, 21 Sep 44, Diary Office 
CinC; Mtg at SHAEF Fwd, 22 Sep 44, SHAEF SGS 
381 Post Overlord Planning, I. 

31 Mtg at SHAEF Fwd, 22 Sep 44; Eisenhower to 
Bradley, FWD 15510, 23 Sep 44. Both in SHAEF 
SGS 381 Post Overlord Planning, I. De Guingand 
to Montgomery, ER/3, 22 Sep 44, Diary Office CinC. 



FIGHTING IN THE NORTH 



295 



which U.S. efforts were aiding the attack 
in the north. He was glad to grant addi- 
tional aid by directing General Bradley to 
take over part of the British zone, but 
warned that the Allies "must not blink the 
fact that we are getting fearfully stretched 
south of Aachen and may get a nasty little 
'Kasserine' if the enemy chooses at any 
place to concentrate a bit of strength." 
However, in view of the enemy's lack of 
transport and supplies, he felt that the 
Allied forces should be all right. In a ges- 
ture evidently meant to wipe out any un- 
pleasant memories of former disagree- 
ments over policy, the Supreme Com- 
mander concluded: 

Good luck to you. I regard it as a great 
pity that all of us cannot keep in closer touch 
with each other because I find, without ex- 
ception, when all of us can get together and 
look the various features of our problems 
squarely in the face, the answers usually be- 
come obvious. 

Do not hesitate for a second to let me know 
at any time that anything seems to you to go 
wrong, particularly where I, my staff, or any 
forces not directly under your control can be 
of help. If we can gain our present objective, 
then even if the enemy attempts to prolong 
the contest we will rapidly get into position 
to go right squarely to his heart and crush 
him utterly. Of course, we need Antwerp. 

Again, good luck and warm personal 
regards. 32 

The decisions of 22 September had 
been made at a time when there was still 
some hope of holding the Arnhem bridge- 
head and perhaps outflanking the West 
Wall fortifications. Once this opportunity 
was gone, Field Marshal Montgomery 
sought to push one more operation toward 
the Rhine. While agreeing that the open- 
ing of Antwerp was essential to any deep 
advance into Germany, he proposed that 
he seize the opportunity to destroy the 
enemy forces barring the way to the Ruhr. 



He suggested that, as the Canadian army 
cleared the approaches to Antwerp, the 
British army should operate from the 
Nijmegen area against the northwest 
corner of the Ruhr in conjunction with a 
First U.S. Army drive toward Cologne. 
These forces, he proposed, should seek 
bridgeheads over the Rhine north and 
south of the Ruhr. It was clear that all 
hope of "bouncing" over the Rhine had 
now been abandoned and that, instead of 
an initial long thrust toward Hamm and 
a subsequent U.S. drive toward Cologne, 
there would now be two converging at- 
tacks by the Second British and the First 
U.S. Armies against the western Ruhr. 33 

Unfortunately, all of these projects 
could not be carried out at once. The First 
Canadian Army's drive of 2 October to 
cut the isthmus leading from western Hol- 
land to South Beveland and to destroy 
enemy forces south of the Schelde estuary 
met strong resistance, and the convergent 
British-U.S. drives against the Ruhr had 
to be postponed. Field Marshal Mont- 
gomery found it necessary to commit Brit- 
ish forces to aid the First U.S. Army, 
which had been unable to clear the area 
west of the Meuse. He said ammunition 
shortages had been responsible in part for 
these difficulties. With British forces com- 
mitted west of the Meuse, Montgomery 
reported, his remaining forces were too 
weak to launch the main attack from the 
Nijmegen area against the northwest 
corner of the Ruhr. The British com- 
mander reminded General Eisenhower 
that in his view the existing command 
situation between the 2 1 Army Group and 

32 Ltr, Eisenhower to Montgomery, 24 Sep 44, 
SHAEF SGS 381 Post Overlord Planning, I. 

33 21 A Gp Operational Situation and Dir, M-527, 
27 Sep 44, 12th A Gp 371.3 Military Objectives, I; 
de Guingand to Smith, 26 Sep 44, SHAEF SGS 381 
Post Overlord Planning, II. 



296 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



the First U.S. Army was unsatisfactory. 34 
General Eisenhower agreed that the 
commitments of the 2 1 Army Group were 
far too heavy for its resources. As a 
remedy, he made two suggestions: the 
U.S. forces could take over the line 
Maashees-Wesel as a northern boundary, 
or they could transfer two U.S. divisions 
to Montgomery and establish the bound- 
ary farther to the south. He agreed that 
plans for a co-ordinated attack to the 
Rhine should be postponed until more 
U.S. divisions could be brought up. Six of 
these, he noted, were being held in staging 
areas on the Continent because of the lack 
of supplies to maintain them in the line. 
The Supreme Commander proposed that 
both army groups retain as their first mis- 
sion the gaining of the Rhine north of 
Bonn and asked consistent support of the 
First U.S. Army's efforts to get its imme- 
diate objective at Dueren. 35 

The second of General Eisenhower's 
suggestions for strengthening the 2 1 Army 
Group was accepted. General Bradley ar- 
ranged for an armored division to be sent 
northward at once and made available an 
infantry division which could be used in 
clearing the Antwerp area. 36 He reported 
that as a result of this action Field Mar- 
shal Montgomery had declared that he 
was "completely satisfied as to the com- 
mand set-up in the north at that time and 
did not need any additional assistance." 37 
Apparently through the first week in 
October General Eisenhower had hoped 
that the 21 Army Group could clear the 
Schelde estuary while driving toward 
some of its other objectives. As the early 
days of the month passed without 
Antwerp's being opened to Allied ship- 
ping, he stressed increasingly the necessity 
of placing that objective first. A report of 
the British Navy on 9 October that the 



First Canadian Army would be unable to 
move until 1 November unless supplied 
promptly with adequate ammunition 
stocks prompted him to warn Field Mar- 
shal Montgomery that unless Antwerp 
was opened by the middle of November 
all Allied operations would come to a 
standstill. He declared that "of all our op- 
erations on our entire front from Switzer- 
land to the Channel, I consider Antwerp 
of first importance, and I believe that the 
operations designed to clear up the en- 
trance require your personal attention." 38 
Apparently stung by the implication that 
he was not pushing the attack for 
Antwerp, the 21 Army Group commander 
denied the Navy's "wild statements" con- 
cerning the First Canadian Army's oper- 
ations, pointing out that the attack was al- 
ready under way and going well. In pass- 
ing, he reminded the Supreme Com- 
mander that the conference of 22 Septem- 
ber had listed the attack on the Ruhr as 
the main effort of the current phase of op- 
erations, and that General Eisenhower on 
the preceding day had declared that the 
first mission of both army groups was 
gaining the Rhine north of Bonn. 39 

The priority of the Antwerp operation 
was spelled out by General Eisenhower in 
messages of 10 and 13 October. In the 
former he declared: "Let me assure you 
that nothing I may ever say or write with 

34 Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-260, 6 Oct 44; 
Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-264, 7 Oct 44. Both 
in Eisenhower personal file. 

35 Eisenhower to 21 A Gp for Bradley (message 
undated but apparently written 8 October 1944), 
Eisenhower personal file. 

36 Both of these were to continue to be supported 
logistically by the U.S. supply services. 

31 Bradley to Hodges, 8 Oct 44, Eisenhower per- 
sonal file. 

38 Eisenhower to Montgomery, S-61466, 9 Oct 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 

38 Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-268, 9 Oct 44, 
Eisenhower personal file. 



FIGHTING IN THE NORTH 



297 



regard to future plans in our advance east- 
ward is meant to indicate any lessening of 
the need for Antwerp, which I have al- 
ways held as vital, and which has grown 
more pressing as we enter the bad weather 
period," Three days later, after Field 
Marshal Montgomery had suggested 
changes in the command arrangement to 
give him greater flexibility in his opera- 
tions, General Eisenhower moved once 
more to dispel any doubts on the matter 
of Antwerp, In one of his most explicit let- 
ters of the war, he declared that the ques- 
tion was not one of command but of tak- 
ing Antwerp. He did not know the exact 
state of the field marshal's forces, but knew 
that they were rich in supplies as com- 
pared with U.S. and French units all the 
way to Switzerland. Because of logistical 
shortages, it was essential that Antwerp be 
put quickly in workable condition. This 
view, he added, was shared by the British 
and U.S. Army Chiefs, General Marshall 
and Field Marshal Brooke, who on a 
recent visit to SHAEF had emphasized 
the vital importance of clearing that port. 
Despite the desire to open Antwerp, 
SHAEF had approved the operation at 
Arnhem and Nijmegen, which, while not 
completely successful, had proved its 
worth. But all recent experiences had 
made clear the great need for opening the 
Schelde estuary, and he was willing, as 
always, to give additional U.S. troops and 
supplies to make that possible. He added 
that he was repeating this in order to em- 
phasize that the operation involved no 
matter of command, "Since everything 
that can be brought in to help, no matter 
of what nationality, belongs to you." 40 

Then in a strong declaration of policy, 
designed to end further discussion of a 
change in command, General Eisenhower 
presented his concept of "logical com- 



mand arrangements for the future," say- 
ing that if Field Marshal Montgomery still 
classed them as "unsatisfactory" there 
would exist an issue which must be settled 
in the interests of future efficiency. "I am 
quite well aware," he said, "of the powers 
and limitations of an Allied Command, 
and if you, as the senior commander in 
this Theater of one of the great Allies, feel 
that my conceptions and directives are 
such as to endanger the success. of opera- 
tions, it is our duty to refer the matter to 
higher authority for any action they may 
choose to take, however drastic." 

He agreed that for any one major task 
on a battlefield, "a single battlefield com- 
mander" was needed who could devote 
his whole attention to a particular opera- 
tion. For this reason armies and army 
groups had been established. When the 
battlefront stretched, as it did now, from 
Switzerland to the North Sea, he did not 
agree "that one man can stay so close to 
the day by day movement of divisions and 
corps that he can keep a 'battle grip' upon 
the overall situation and direct it intelli- 
gently." The Allies were no longer con- 
fronted with a Normandy beachhead. 
Rather, the campaign over such an ex- 
tended front was broken up into more or 
less clearly outlined areas of operations, of 
which one was the principal and the 
others of secondary nature. The over-all 
commander, in this case the Supreme 
Commander, then had the task of adjust- 
ing the larger boundaries, assigning sup- 
port by air or by ground and airborne 
troops, and shifting the emphasis in sup- 
ply arrangements. 

For the immediate attack on the Ruhr, 
he felt that one commander should be re- 

40 See Eisenhower to Montgomery, 10 and 13 Octo- 
ber 1944, Eisenhower personal file, for this and the 
succeeding four paragraphs. 



298 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



sponsible, but it was not clear which com- 
mander would be in position to provide 
the strength of the task. At present, it ap- 
peared that the current commitments of 
the 21 Army Group would leave it with 
such depleted forces facing eastward that 
it could not be expected to carry out any- 
thing more than supporting movements 
in the attack on the Ruhr. He proposed, 
therefore, to give the task of capturing the 
Ruhr to the 12th Army Group with the 21 
Army Group in the supporting role. Look- 
ing beyond the seizure of'that objective, 
he noted that the 21 Army Group would 
be concentrated north of the Ruhr and 
thus be in a position to participate in the 
direct attack toward Berlin. Originally, 
he continued, he had hoped that the field 
marshal would take Antwerp and clear up 
the western coast of Holland rapidly and 
therefore be in a position to make a major 
attack on the Ruhr, an operation for 
which U.S. units would have been made 
available to the 21 Army Group. He had 
gathered from the recent conference, how- 
ever, that Montgomery agreed with the 
view that the British army group "could 
not produce the bulk of the forces required 
for the direct Ruhr attack." 

The Supreme Commander then turned 
his attention to the question of national- 
ism versus military considerations and re- 
minded the 21 Army Group chief that 
there had never been any hesitation in 
putting U.S. forces under British com- 
mand. He added: 

It would be quite futile to deny that ques- 
tions of nationalism often enter our problems. 
It is nations that make war, and when they 
find themselves associated as Allies, it is quite 
often necessary to make concessions that 
recognize the existence of inescapable na- 
tional differences. For example, due to differ- 
ences in equipment, it necessary that the 12th 
Army Group depend primarily upon a Line 



of Communications that is separate so far as 
possible from that of 21st Army Group. 
Wherever we can, we keep people of the 
same nations serving under their own com- 
manders. It is the job of soldiers, as I see it, 
to meet their military problems sanely, sen- 
sibly, and logically, and while not shutting 
our eyes to the fact that we are two different 
nations, produce solutions that permit effec- 
tive cooperation, mutual support and effec- 
tive results. Good will and mutual confidence 
are, of course, mandatory. 

Even before this message reached the 2 1 
Army Group commander, Montgomery 
appears to have concluded that the First 
U.S. Army could not reach the Rhine and 
there was no reason for British forces to 
move alone toward the Ruhr. He had al- 
ready dispatched the Second British Army 
to help the Canadian forces speed the 
opening of Antwerp. After receiving Gen- 
eral Eisenhower's letter, the field marshal 
terminated the discussion of the Ruhr, 
Antwerp, and command arrangements 
with the assurance that "you will hear no 
more on the subject of command from 
me." He wrote: 

I have given you my views and you have 
given your answer. I and all of us will weigh 
in one hundred percent to do what you want 
and we will pull it through without a doubt. 
I have given Antwerp top priority in all op- 
erations in 2 1 Army Group and all energies 
and efforts will now be devoted towards 
opening up the place. Your very devoted and 
loyal subordinate. 41 

The Battle for Antwerp 

The full attention of 21 Army Group 
was focused on clearing the Schelde 
estuary in mid-October. The task, simple 

41 Montgomery to Eisenhower, M-77, 14 Oct 44; 
Eisenhower to Montgomery, 15 Oct 44; Montgom- 
ery to Eisenhower, M-281, 16 Oct 44. All in Eisen- 
hower personal file. 2 1 A Gp Operational Situation 
and Dir, M-532, 16 Oct 44, 12th A Gp 371.3 Mili- 
tary Objectives, II. 




to state, was far from easy to execute. The 
enemy, intent on denying the Allies use of 
the tremendously important port of 
Antwerp, had reinforced the fortifications 
and coastal guns on the island of Wal- 
cheren, the South Beveland peninsula, 
and the mainland south of the Schelde 
estuary to prevent shipping from reaching 
the Allied-held docks at Antwerp, (Map 4 ) 
Unfortunately for the Allies, the enemy 
had saved many of his troops in the area 
from destruction and had managed to 
strengthen his positions. General der In- 
fanterie Gustav von Zangen, who had 
succeeded Generaloberst Hans von Sal- 
muth as commander of the Fifteenth Army 
in late August, had managed to withdraw 
part of his troops from the Fas -de-Calais 
in good order and had established a de- 



fense line south of the Schelde estuary 
after the fall of Antwerp. To keep the 
escape route open for other retreating 
units, the commander had brought the 
division guarding the approaches to Ant- 
werp down to the area of Ghent on 4 Sep- 
tember. As quickly as other forces could 
be brought up, he put them into the line 
near Woensdrecht to protect the isthmus. 
By this means he was able both to block 
the Allied advance and to keep open an 
escape route to the north and east. On 
6 September, after the forces to the west 
had been brought into Belgium, he or- 
dered a general withdrawal northward 
across the Schelde estuary to Walcheren 
Island. Allied air activity harassed the 
move, but in a period of slightly more 
than two weeks an estimated 80,000 men 



300 



THE SUPREME COMMAND 



and nearly 600 pieces of artillery together 
with supply vehicles, antitank guns, and 
assault guns, were withdrawn without 
major losses. During the remainder of 
September, while the Allies were heavily 
engaged in attacks on the Channel for- 
tresses and at Arnhem and Nijmegen, the 
Germans built up their defenses in the 
areas directly south of the Schelde estuary, 
the area north of Antwerp, and on the 
isthmus near Woensdrecht. 42 

The initial task of clearing the Schelde 
estuary had been assigned to the First 
Canadian Army, while the Second British 
and the First U.S. Armies were driving 
toward the Ruhr. Now, as General Eisen- 
hower pressed for the opening of Antwerp, 
the latter two armies put part of their 
forces at the disposal of General Simonds, 
commanding the Canadian army in the 
absence of General Crerar (in the United 
Kingdom on sick leave). 43 The Canadians 
began to drive north from the Antwerp- 
Turnhout Canal and the suburbs of Ant- 
werp on 2 October. They took Woens- 
drecht fifteen days later after heavy fight- 
ing. On their right, troops of the 1 British 
Corps pushed north and northwest upon 
Roosendaal and Bergen op Zoom and 
assisted the Canadians in sealing off the 
South Beveland isthmus from the main- 
land on 23 October. Meanwhile, an 
especially bitter fight developed to the 
west in the area between the Leopold 
Canal and Breskens as the Canadians 
sought to clear the pocket directly south of 
the Schelde estuary. Breskens finally fell 
on 22 October, and the entire area was 
cleared by 3 November, yielding more 
than 12,500 prisoners. 

The First Canadian Army began its at- 
tack for South Beveland on 25 October 
with an advance westward from Woens- 
drecht. On 25-26 October, British forces 



sailed from Terneuzen and struck north- 
ward across the estuary. Making assault 
landings near Baarland, they drove across 
the island. By the end of 30 October, the 
Canadian and British forces had linked 
up, cleared South Beveland of the enemy, 
and sent a small column to North Beve- 
land to put down any resistance that 
might be offered there. 

The worst obstacle was still to be faced 
on Walcheren Island some fifty miles west 
of Antwerp. Here a garrison estimated at 
6,000 to 7,000, well dug in and equipped 
with strong antiaircraft batteries and 
coastal defenses, maintained the last bar- 
rier between Allied shipping and Ant- 
werp. General Simonds in September had 
originated and pressed, against the oppo- 
sition of some airmen, a plan for bombing 
the dikes on Walcheren. While the scale of 
heavy bomber attacks, which began in 
the first days of October, was insufficient, 
the air efforts were responsible for breach- 
ing the dikes and forcing the enemy out of 
some of his low-lying positions. The main 
reliance for driving the Germans out of the 
island had to be placed, however, on sea- 
borne assaults together with an attack 
from South Beveland. 44 

On the morning of 1 November, British 
Commandos from Breskens began land- 
ing near Vlissingen. A larger force made 
up of Royal Navy and British Com- 
mando units, mounted at Ostend, made a 
frontal assault on the strong undamaged 



42 MS # B-249, Battles of the Fifteenth Army in 
Northern France and Holland, 28 Aug-10 Nov 44 
(Zangen); MS # B-475, Battles of the Fifteenth Army 
between the Meuse-Scheldt Canal and the Lower 
Meuse, 15 Sep- 10 Nov 44 (Zangen); Der Westen 
(Schramm). 

43 Maj. Gen. C. Foulkes temporarily succeeded 
General Simonds as commander of the 2d Canadian 
Corps. 

44 Stacey, The Canadian Army, p. 228. 



FIGHTING IN THE NORTH 



301 



fortifications in the area of Westkapelle at 
the extreme western end of the island. The 
landing craft were particularly hard hit 
by enemy shore defenses. Despite heavy 
opposition, the force was successfully put 
ashore and started its eastward drive 
across the island. Meanwhile, the units 
which had landed from Breskens seized 
Vlissingen on 2 November. On the follow- 
ing day, the two forces linked up and 
began systematically clearing the enemy 
from the island. On 8 November, German 
resistance ended. 45 

The period 1 October to 8 November in 
the Antwerp sector had proved costly to 
both the Allies and the enemy. The forces 
under the First Canadian Army had suf- 
fered nearly 13,000 casualties, but they 
had inflicted much heavier losses on the 
enemy, whose casualties in prisoners alone 
totaled some 40,000. 46 

General Eisenhower was able to inform 



the Combined Chiefs of Staff on 3 Novem- 
ber that the approaches to Antwerp had 
been cleared. Even as the last resistance 
was being rooted out on Walcheren Island, 
minesweeping activities began on the 
Schelde estuary. Some three weeks later, 
on 28 November, the first convoy of Allied 
ships reached the port of Antwerp. 

45 For general discussions of the battle for the 
Schelde estuary, see Stacey, The Canadian Army, Gh. 
XIV; Mongomery, Normandy to the Baltic, Ch. XIII. 

46 Stacey, The Canadian Army, p. 229. These figures 
were based on General Simonds' contemporary re- 
port to General Grerar, 22 November 1944. Compare 
statistics with those given in Eisenhower, Crusade in 
Europe, p. 327. The 10,000 German prisoners listed 
in the Eisenhower volume were apparently those 
taken on Walcheren and Beveland, while more than 
27,000 Allied casualties were approximately those 
suffered along the entire 21 Army Group front from 
Walcheren to Nijmegen during the period. It should 
be recalled that operations to clear the Schelde 
estuary were controlled by the First Canadian Army 
but contained British, U.S., and Polish elements as 
well. More than 6,000 of the 13,000 casualties were 
Canadian. 



CHAPTER XVII 



The Battles of Attrition, 
September-December 1944 



While the 21 Army Group, aided by the 
First Allied Airborne Army and elements 
of the First U.S. Army, carried out the at- 
tack on Arnhem and operations around 
Antwerp, the 12th (less First Army) and 
6th Army Groups probed at German 
weakness and sought to wear down the 
enemy in the ar ea between Belgium and 
the Swiss border. ( Map IV) Campaigns in 
late September and early October were 
based on the belief that Hitler's forces were 
still disintegrating and that some lucky 
push might find a soft spot in the opposing 
lines which would permit the Allies to ad- 
vance to the Rhine before the dead of 
winter. Later, when it became evident that 
the Germans had reorganized their forces 
and had succeeded in manning the West 
Wall fortifications against the Allied offen- 
sive, General Eisenhower refused to ac- 
cept a static policy for the winter, feeling 
that even minor advances were better than 
completely defensive tactics. "We were 
certain," he wrote after the war, "that by 
continuing an unremitting offensive we 
would, in spite of hardship and privation, 
gain additional advantages over the 
enemy. Specifically we were convinced 
that this policy would result in shortening 
the war and therefore in the saving of 
thousands of Allied lives." 1 



The Enemy Regroups 

The enemy by mid-September had per- 
formed amazing feats in improvising units 
to hold the West Wall defenses and in cre- 
ating an opposition which was often formi- 
dable. It is possible, as British and U.S. 
proponents of the single thrust to the Rhine 
argue, that these efforts were impressive 
only because the attempt to advance on a 
broad front enabled small groups of 
second- and third-rate troops to hol